Reviews

Cursive's Domestica

Author: Franklin Brunno
07/01/2000 | CMJ New Music Monthly | Album Review
File Under: D-I-V-O-R-C-E Punk
R.I.Y.L.: Fugazi, Unwound, X, George Jones & Tammy Wynette

With its Europhonic title and cover shot of two downcast 20-somethings staring past each other, Domestica looks like the work of some post-Portishead trip hop duo. Instead, Cursive is an Omaha-based quartet, the cover stars are actors, and the album is an extended post mortem on their characters' (Sweetie and Pretty Baby) doomed relationship. Rupert Homes (of "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" fame) tried something like this in the 70's, but it featured neither lines like "the moon has raped me," nor a jittering, Fugazi-esque two-guitar frontline, courtesy of leader TimKasher and new recruit Ted Stevens (also of Lullaby for the Working Class). Despite Cursive's Midwestern emo roots, this is not skate-boy-loses-barrette-girl tale; by the band's own account, the disc dissects Kasher's own failed marriage. The result: a post-punk update on Richard and Linda Thompson's Shoot Out The Lights. The roots of the central couple's difficulties aren't entirely clear (though alcoholism and sexual dysfunction are hinted at), but the accusations and recriminations are as vividly drawn as their aftermath: "There's still a hole where the phone was thrown." When Sweetie gives up the ghost on the final track, Kasher repeatedly yells "I lost the will to fight" in his throatiest Ian MacKaye mode. Cursive's sonic aggression may not always match their emotionally nuanced material, but what's a breakup without a tantrum?
Cursive's Domestica

Cursive's Domestica

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