Mama, I'm Swollen
Author: Aaron Richter
Rarely, if ever, has Cursive frontman Tim Kasher been accused of making "pretty" music. Bleeding-heart lyrics? Yeah. Themes of Catholic guilt? You bet. All around emo as fuck? Definitely. But pretty? Never. Even Gretta Cohn's cello on 2003's impeccable The Ugly Organ gave the Omaha group a morose anchor for its heartbroken, love-gnashing guitars. It was beautiful. But it wasn't really pretty. Mama, I'm Swollen is pretty, from start to finish. Kasher, still forlorn as a lyricist, indulges an upbeat musical itch, letting a never-before-heard aesthetic cheerfulness envelope his biting tales of human depth and critical wit. The touch of tenderness suits Kasher, far enough removed from the emotional nastiness of 2000's Domestica and singing more like Robert Smith than his old demented yelp. But maybe it's best to let Kasher explain the record in his own words.