Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Crystal K. Wiebe
03/31/2009 | | | Live Show Preview
The frantic repetition, "don't want live in the now/don't wanna know what I know" sets the tone for the rest of Mama, I'm Swollen, Cursive's latest batch of highly bitter and literate indie rock songs. Throughout this new album frontman Tim Kasher ruminates on themes that have obsessed him for years -- fear of settling, the struggle for artistic release and accomplishment, society's insistence that a man grow up. Dreaming of a life lived "duty-free" and "from the hips," Kasher remains disenchanted with the responsibility of thinking life. (For, as we already know, it's all that thinking that makes him unhappy among hollow-headed, civilized folk.)

A new drummer, Cornbread Compton, joins Kasher and longtime bandmates Matt Maginn (bass, vocals) and Ted Stevens (guitar and vocals) this time around. As usual, horns occasionally creep into the mix. They lend an especially Cure-like effect when juxtaposed with the Robert Smith-y tone in Kasher's voice.

Overall, the vibe of Mama comes off a bit more controlled. There's less of a sense that the guitars and Kasher's tortured indignation could summon up a sonic twister. The band comes closest on explosive closer "What Have I Done." The six-minute work starts out lullaby hush. Kasher laments the disappointment of his existence: "I spent the best years of my life waiting on the best years of my life." As he delves deeper into the regret, comparing himself to a traveling salesman (isn't that what a touring musician is?), his voice cracks and the song bursts open. Drums crash and guitars squeal around him, until all goes quiet again.

Standout Tracks: "I Couldn't Love You," "What Have I Done"
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

LP / CD / MP3