Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Happy Hollow

Author: Troy Michael
04/03/2008 | The News-Gazette | | Feature
The Omaha, NE indie rock band Cursive has paid its dues and then some. The quartet has been around for more than a decade, had a few lineup changes and even survived breaking up for a short time, only to reuntie and build on what the individual member had learned while apart.

Now with it's 12th release "Bad Sects", Cursive continues to tour steadily. The band will be coming back to Urbana to play a show at the Canopy Club on Monday.

In 1995, Tim Kasher (vocals), Matt Maginn (bass) and Steve Pedersen (guitar) were in a band called Slowdown Virginia, and when that band broke up, the trio picked up drummer Clint Schnase to complete the lineup of their new outfit, Cursive. Two years later, Cursive released its debut, "Such Blinding Stars For Starving Eyes," on Epitaph Records. After two years of touring, the band called it quits in 1998 just befgore the release of "The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song" (LBJ Records) in the fall of that year. In the summer of 1999, the band reformed, although Pedersen had started law school and didn't come back. So the trio brought in Lullaby for the Working Class guitariist Ted Stevens.

Cursive's third release, "Domestica," was released on the up-and-coming Omaha label Saddle Creek Records in 2000. This was a big step for the band because the record was a concept album written like a one-act play documenting the lies, hate and deceit associate with a divorce. The album received critical praise and the Cursive fan base grew by leaps and bounds.

The next year, the band brought in cellist Gretta Cohn, who added string arrangements for Cursive's phenomenal EP "Burst and Bloom" and its split CD, "Eat Teeth To Eat You," with Japanese rockers Eastern Youth.

In 2003, Cursive wrote and recorded a collection of songs depicting internal monologues dealing with insecurities and self-doubt brought on by the struggles of life on an emotional carousel and dubbed it "The Ugly Organ." The album received huge praise, earning four stars from Rolling Stone magazine and a perfect rating from Alternative Press.

In 2004, Cursive reached the mainstream masses when the Cure invited the fivesome to open on the legendary band's Curiosa tour alongside Interpol, The Rapture, Mogwai and others. Afterward, the band went on hiatus with no specified return date. Saddle Creke issued a compilation album of unreleased songs and b-sides called "The Difference Between Houses And Homes" in August 2005. That same year, Cohn left the band to pursue other musical opportunities. Instead of replacing her, the band remained a four-piece.

Cursive came back together when Kasher took a break from his side band, The Good Life, to begin writing the band's latest full-length album, Happy Hollow (named for an area of Omaha around Happy Hollow Boulevard, running parallel to Saddle Creek Road) which was released in 2006.

Instead of writing songs about his personal life as he had on prior Cursive releases, Kasher took on the subjects of suburban life, politics and religious hypocrisy. Musically, the band again charted different waters by bringing in a five-piece horn section, a concept it first explored on The Ugly Organ.

Last October, the band sponsored a contest for its fans to remix Cursive's single for the track "Bad Sects". The winner's song would be used as the B-side to Cursive's next single release.

Cursive will perform at the Canopy Club in Urbana along with Capgun Coup and Oceans. The show has an early start time of 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $15 in advance.
Happy Hollow

Happy Hollow

LP / CD / MP3