Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Keith N. Dusenberry
03/11/2009 | New York Metromix | | Album Review
The buzz: Cursive—Saddle Creek's long-standing emo-y, indie post-punks—return from a near-breakup-turned-hiatus to deliver their sixth album. Ever one to tackle big subjects in song, frontman Tim Kasher takes on issues of existence, humanity, society and aging on this LP. With a new drummer in tow and a well-known penchant for sonic exploration, what this album was going to actually sound like was anyone's guess.

The verdict: It sounds like "Happy Hollow"-era Cursive—excitable, warmly distorted, bits of oddness, sorta voluminous—gone more chilled out and grown up. It's not an alt-indie assault so much as a nuanced, balanced record that owes more to Conor Oberst than Cap'n Jazz. But while "Mama, I'm Swollen" is a less rambunctious album, it's no less enthusiastic (if only it were more memorable!). Kasher still gets plenty passionate, but there's a shift toward energetic/emotional dynamism that allows for slinky songs like "We're Going to Hell," as well as the Saddle Creek shuffle of "From the Hips" and "Caveman." Album closer "What Have I Done?" stays smooth for a while before bursting hard for a minute, then falling off into sonic shards and…Cursive's next musical direction? Only time will tell.

Did you know? Digital copies of "Mama" were sold in a stepped pricing structure by the label's Web site during the week and a half leading up to its official release. Full-album downloads began at $1, and increased by a buck per day until hitting the final $10 mark.
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

LP / CD / MP3