Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Happy Hollow

Author: Alexis
08/27/2006 | | | Album Review
Choosing what I fancied best about Cursive's recently released Happy Hollow would be like trying to decide what I crave most about rocky road ice cream. Is it the mini mallows, the toasty almonds, or perhaps even the partially hydrogenated soybean oil that make it so extra yummy? It's just that way with this album and its collection of often hopping, always melodic, regularly rhythmic, but periodically monotonous and sometimes downright discordant jingles. It seems I began to yearn for the oddly addictive monotony and discordance as much as the more universally accepted pleasantness of, say, the appealing tunes or their penetrating percussion.

But perhaps the smoothly satisfying milk chocolate of this album comes in the form of Tim Kasher's and Ted Stevens's insightfully clever lyrics. At times I'd say their words are almost too thought-provoking for a set of songs so reminiscent of old Duran Duran ditties, but the lyrics are captivating nonetheless. Themes of humanity and religion run amok through their music.

In Dorothy at Forty, listeners are forced to contemplate the mess we've all made of our lives and what dismal products we are of an equally dismal civilization. But if you listen closely, you'll see there's a lesson to be learned in their tutelage on our growing sense of entitlement. Do we really deserve "More of our fair share! More of our birthright! More of what we're owed?' Is that what will really make us happy?

The band throws some religion in our face as they ponder the origin of life in Big Bang. The song showcases some subtle stabs at the church and an honest questioning of the creationism vs. evolution debate. They point out that, "we need a purpose in life, a survival guide. We need explanations for how we arrived." But who, they ask, has the answers?

For some, Happy Hollow may not live up on the high and mighty shelf where Cursive's masterpiece album Ugly Organ resides, but it can certainly happily linger on the sidelines and share some rotation time on your turntable. Enjoy the new addition of a horn section and settle in for a lyrical ride.
Happy Hollow

Happy Hollow

LP / CD / MP3