My first disappointment was the absence of Cursive's cellist, Greta Cohn, who departed from the band earlier this year. The cello had given the band's music such a haunting sound. The album still utilizes instruments, such as horns in the tracks "Retreat!" and "At Conception," but the loss gave this album an overall feeling of emptiness.
Tim Kasher, one of my all-time favorite frontmen for his raw, real, emotive voice, strayed from his powerful sound. Happy Hollow is not laden with the anguished yelling that Kasher is known for. His voice lacks emotion, which makes his words unconvincing.
Happy Hollow is a concept album. The album is divided into fourteen hymns for heathens, with the first track being a prelude and the last an overview of the album, listing the themes of each song, or "hymn." Cursive is known for themed albums, but this is different. Whereas in the past Kasher lamented over relationships in a figurative manner, this theme, Kasher's beef with organized religion, is explicit. His lyrics could not be more literal, which is odd for Cursive, and personally, annoying. This is my biggest problem with the album. I love Cursive for their poetic lyrics and feel as though they are pointing out the obvious in an issue that's already been beaten into the ground.
All in all, the album is not horrible, just different. When I want to listen to Cursive, Happy Hollow will not be the album I choose. But despite my disappointment, Cursive remains one of my favorite bands, so if you're a fan of Cursive I still recommend you give Happy Hollow a chance. However, if you are unfamiliar with their music, please don't let this be your first taste of Cursive. 6/10,
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / MP3
LP / Deluxe LP / CD / MP3
LP / MP3