Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Cursive's Domestica

06/26/2000 | | | Album Review
Possibly the largest hurdle facing any emo act is one of subject matter. While the day-to-day woe-is-me sort of dross may fly in crowds populated entirely by kids in vinyl jackets and haircuts looking exactly like Star Trek's Mr. Spock's, the usual magnification of everyday trauma usually doesn't sit well with people who have more on their minds than what Modest Mouse song to name their band after.

The trouble is, most emo acts find a way to take dead common sorrows-loneliness, alienation and frustration-and blow them up to epic proportions, resulting in commonplace themes so magnified it's nearly impossible to identify with them. Cursive, however, puts a 180-degree spin on the trend with Domestica, dropping a stirringly personal record while still managing to fill its work with pathos.

Settling deep into the cracks of everyday life, Domestica finds the band feeding off the intimate moments of life, simultaneously breaking from the flock of songs about long-distance love and lost girlfriends to focus on almost claustrophobically glimpses of real woes and finding a way to make its chokingly personal numbers hum with personality.

Inspired by singer/guitarist Tim Kasher's marriage and divorce, Domestica chronicles the little moments behind closed doors and pulled shades making up the essential parts of a relationship. Though Cursive pulls its listeners in stiflingly close to failing relationships, the proximity gives listeners a breath of fresh air away from all the stinky, formulaic songs dominating the emo world. From "Shallow Means, Deep Ends," looking out from the ashes of a burnt-out love, to "The Lament of Pretty Baby," filled with haunting imagery, Cursive's truly emotionally driven themes tower over most of their contemporaries.

Musically, the Nebraskan group delivers the same sort of post-rock/post-hardcore numbers keeping the grain belt warm in the long Midwest winters. Sharp and angular and filled with tempo jumps, Domestica mixes the weight with well calculated roars. Songs like "The Casualty," bears both jagged guitar fangs and shrieking vocal tracks as well as toned-down, moody breaks, while "Making Friends and Aquantiacnes," managing a hefty impact despite its more low-key arrangement, find Cursive mastering the flourishes of post-hardcore peaks and valleys. More individualistic and textured than previous albums, Domestica nonetheless bears the obvious fingerprints of the band's earlier work.
Cursive's Domestica

Cursive's Domestica

LP / CD / MP3