Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Difference Between Houses and Homes

Author: Liz Mozzocco
10/30/2005 | Innocent Words | | Album Review
Rumor has it that the liner notes of The Difference Between Houses and Homes include a 24-page booklet of illustrations and a short story written by Cursive frontman Tim Kasher that explains the album's title. However, as a pathetic apartment dweller possessing only a bare bones promo copy of this release, I must admit to readers that I have no clue what the difference between houses and homes actually is. But it sounds like it would make a nice story.

Not that Cursive is known for telling "nice" stories. Fans of this band might have been worried that the end was near during the group's recent hiatus, but The Difference Between Houses and Homes appears to be only a brief journey into the past as Cursive prepares for the future with a fifth record.

Judging by this collection of songs, which includes 10 tracks from out-of-print seven inches and two previously unreleased songs, Cursive's sound has been fairly consistent from the start. Houses and Homes starts with the early, unreleased punk song "Dispenser" and continues much in the same vein throughout the 12 tracks. Cursive's signature dissonant guitar sounds and Kasher's melodramatic screaming vocals are there, although Gretta Cohn's cello is noticeably absent from all the songs here except for "Nostalgia," which is the most recent release on Houses and Homes.

Although this record is, at its core, distinctly Cursive, early tracks in this collection, like "Sucker and Dry" and "A Disruption in the Normal Swing of Things," do sound more raw and grating than those on the band's 2003 concept record The Ugly Organ. It's a little bit strange to hear a Cursive release where the individual songs have nothing to do with each other subject-wise; these tracks are in fact "loose ends," as the title mentions.

And as you might imagine from that title, this release is mostly a collector's item for eager fans, so if you've never listened to Cursive before, you might want to test out Kasher's songwriting on a previous full length like Ugly Organ or Domestica before you dive into this one. But for existing fans, it seems unlikely that anything written in this review would keep them from picking up The Difference Between Houses and Homes, as well it shouldn't.