Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Kiri Oliver
03/19/2009 | | | Live Show Preview
Tim Kasher seems to be a different man every time Cursive comes around. While touring for Happy Hollow, he played with the usual passion but admitted to the large Webster Hall crowd that he wasn't feeling it at all. In January at Mercury Lounge, however, he was plastered and hilarious, and at one point launched into a rant against religion that ended with repeated cries of "I hate God." This time around, he was both sober and restrained, generally playing the consummate professional (although he did respond to an audience comment with a prolonged joke about smoking crack after the show).

The day marked the release of Cursive's sixth album, Mama, I'm Swollen. Kasher expressed total disbelief at the fact that the band had made it that far. He also pointed out that the more albums they release, the longer their sets get; they played for an hour an a half, which fortunately allowed them to give fair treatment to their last four albums and dust off some beloved but usually neglected Domestica material. Their set list highlighted the progression and recurring themes of their music over time, spanning a decade's worth of failed relationships, fractured fairytales, rewritten scripture, and all manner of confessions, revelations and drunken rants. Through various lineup changes and stylistic shifts, Kasher has consistently played the role of indie rock's mad genius, most recently taking it upon himself to tackle subjects as big as religion and the inevitable failures of man in modern society; on the new song "From the Hips," he sang, "I hate this damn enlightenment / We were better off as animals."

The most powerful song on Mama, I'm Swollen, however, is the most personal. One of the highlights of the set was their performance of the album's closer "What Have I Done?", on which Kasher lamented in his best worn-out voice that "I spent the best years of my life waiting on the best years of my life" and then got gradually worked up, finally yelling "What have I done?" repeatedly as the whole band rocked out with abandon. Of course, the magnitude of what Kasher has accomplished over the course of his career is obvious to just about everyone except him. It's hard to blame him for being so self-deprecating and angsty, though, when the results are so good.
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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