Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Micah Mertes
06/12/2009 | Lincoln Journal Star | | Live Show Preview
Omaha band Cursive has had quite a trek.

Since the guys burst onto the music scene with their 1997 debut album, they've gone through a few lineup changes, a handful of hiatuses and even one break-up.

"When I step back and look at the history, I'm pretty amazed that we're still around," said bass player and original member Matt Maginn. "We've had so many long breaks in there that it does take a shape of different eras in our existence."

Maginn, frontman Tim Kasher, guitarist/singer Ted Stevens and new drummer Cornbread Compton dove into Cursive's next era this spring with the release of the band's sixth album, "Mama, I'm Swollen."

The album was as much a logistical challenge as an artistic one. The guys are scattered throughout different parts of the country: Missouri, California, Omaha. So they'd get together for a week or so in Omaha or Los Angeles, writing or playing in bursts. They'd pull some 15-hour days.

The result is something that's distinctly Cursive, which means, among other things (such as rage, catharsis and tales of misery), "Mama, I'm Swollen" is quite a bit different from the album that came before it.

"We've always done such different records," Maginn said. "We have strong fans, and we have different sects of fans who have very different opinions toward each record."

To a lot of fans, Cursive will never make a better album than 2000's "Cursive's Domestica." For others, 2003's "The Ugly Organ" was their finest moment. "Happy Hollow" and "Mama, I'm Swollen" from 2006 are big steps forward to some and the definition of diminishing returns to others.

But that's, you know, what being in a rock band is all about. Some fans are always going to think you lost something with every new album that comes after the one they really loved.

"It's hard to get bummed out or upset," Maginn said, "when people are looking toward the repeat of a record they love."

Top five

Five awesome Cursive songs:

1. "Art is Hard"

2. "Rise Up! Rise Up!"

3. "The Lament of Pretty Baby"

4. "From the Hips"

5. "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale"
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

LP / CD / MP3