Reviews

Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Justin Jacobs
07/22/2009 | Indianapolis Metromix | www.indianapolis.metromix.com | Live Show Preview
Cursive is the least "hard rock" hard rock group around.

Sure, the guitars crank and crunch. Sure, front man Tim Kasher screams more than he coos. But the macho attitude never quite fit.

Through Cursive's 15-year existence, the Omaha band has "tried to stretch the parameters of what we were -- we tried, we really, truly tried to stretch out of the genres we were pegged into," said Kasher, calling from his new home in Santa Monica, Calif., during a tour break.

"But it's difficult to change how people perceive you."

Especially, it turns out, when people perceive you to fall in a three-letter genre that now spells self-mockery: Emo.

In 2000, when Cursive first became a major blip on the indie rock radar with concept album "Domestica" -- loosely based on Kasher's divorce -- the band was lumped in with the then-breaking genre of sad-sap lyrics, loud-soft guitars and silly haircuts. But Cursive was always a darker, more sinister beast than emo icons like Dashboard Confessional.

With this spring's "Mama, I'm Swollen," Cursive's sixth LP, Kasher and company have stepped out of the shadows of emo. The album is awash in dark, atmospheric noise, rusty buzzsaw guitars and Kasher's meditation on man's desire to "shrug off his own decency and maintain a shallow existence, breaking out of societal constraints," an urge that Kasher said "eventually fails."

Lyrics have long been the heart of Cursive, and Kasher's fans read his work like a bible -- an even angrier bible. Live shows often resemble tent revivals more than rock concerts. On "From the Hips," Kasher sings, "Don't wanna mumble what I'm trying to say. I wanna scream it from my foaming mouth; shoot out the lights and ride away."

"Cursive allows me to scream and throw tantrums onstage. It's cathartic. I think a lot of people would be much better off if they could do that," said Kasher.
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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