Reviews

Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Jen Paulson
01/15/2009 | Spin.com | www.spin.com | Live Show Preview
Cursive launched their U.S. tour Wednesday night at Minneapolis' Triple Rock Social Club, returning to the stage for the first time in seven months. Along with classic tunes, the Omaha band debuted five new songs off their upcoming album, Mama, I'm Swollen, which they recently completed with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, the Faint, Rilo Kiley) for release this spring.

"Let Me Up," a new track, saw the five-piece group -- vocalist/guitarist Tim Kasher, bassist Matt Maginn, guitarist Ted Stevens, drummer Clint Schnase, and trumpet/keyboard player Patrick Newberry -- fuse electric keyboards and slide guitar with heavy organ and bass.

"Donkeys," another new cut, began with quiet quitar riffs that slowly built into a wall of sound. Kasher fired off lyrics about an addict's failure to grow up and take care of his young family: "Isn't it time to act your age / You got a mortgage on your shoulder and a baby on the way / Shrug it off with a jack-ass grin / Once you clean up you'll do it again."

Over the 17-song set, the group played plenty of classics, too, including "Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand," a wild art-rock tune off 2003's The Ugly Organ.

Kasher's emotional ferocity and whisper-to-scream vocals highlighted "Big Bang," a screeching guitar tune off 2006's Happy Hollow that finds the singer musing about organized religion's refusal to accept the Big Bang theory.

"If at first you don't succeed / You gotta recreate your misery / 'Cause we all know art is hard," Kasher later sang on "Art is Hard," a rocking number off 2003's The Ugly Organ featuring trumpet, head-banging drums, and Kasher's throat-ripping screams.

Art may be difficult, but Cursive's fans at Triple Rock seemed thankful that Kasher keeps the misery coming album after album.

Cursive setlist:
"Some Red Handed Sleight Of Hand" (2003's The Ugly Organ)
"Sink To The Beat" (2001's Burst & Bloom EP)
"I Couldn't Love You" (new song)
"Babies" (2006's Happy Hollow)
"Making Friends And Acquaintances" (2000's Domestica)
"From The Hips" (new song)
"Driftwood" (2003's The Ugly Organ)
"Big Bang" (2006's Happy Hollow)
"A Disruption In The Normal Swing Of Things" (2005's The Difference Between Houses and Homes)
"Caveman" (new song)
"Art Is Hard" (2003's The Ugly Organ)
"Let Me Up" (new song)
"Dorothy At Forty" (2006's Happy Hollow)
Encore
"A Gentleman Caller" (2003's The Ugly Organ)
"Donkeys" (new song)
"The Casualty" (2000's Domestica)
"Sierra" (2003's The Ugly Organ)
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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