Mama, I'm Swollen
Author: Eric Grandy
(Neumos) Cursive's latest album, Mama, I'm Swollen, is not their greatest work—most would say that's the bitter breakup opus Domestica, though I'm partial to the reflexive brooding (bordering on dark comedy) of the Burst and Bloom EP and The Ugly Organ. Still, Swollen contains some classic Cursive moments, with Tim Kasher shredding his throat and his soul in equal measure, and his band backing him with perfectly bombastic arrangements of distortion, rhythm, and brass. Best of these is "I Couldn't Love You," whose subtle double entendre—I couldn't love you enough; I couldn't keep on loving you—Kasher belts out over a rousing chorus of brightly harmonious organ, brass, guitars, and big, volatile drum rolls. Live, Cursive swerve from uncomfortably quiet to painfully loud with aplomb, their already dramatic songs delivered with such exaggerated force that it seems like the band might just tear themselves apart.