Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Burst and Bloom

Author: Annie Ronis
07/12/2001 | Section M | Album Review
Cursive knows no other way than to be honest. Very very honest. How do you follow up an album marked by some of the most lyrically brutal personal issues ever set to music (1999's Domestica)? You record an EP that grapples with just that. Burst and Bloom's opening track, "Sink to the Beat", says it all: "This unique approach to start an EP intended to shock, create a mystique/ a cheap strategy, a marketing scheme building awareness for the next LP...I'll try to make this perfectly clear/ I'm so reflexive I am a mirror/ these words I'm driving into the ground the same words I scream out over the crowd". This all sounds too painfully self-deprecating, especially since the song begins as a rap. It's nuts-but so nuts that they pull it off, managing to communicate unembellished anxiety so up-front that it's impossible to scoff at.

The five tracks on Burst and Bloom outline the band's quest for artistic growth: the aggressive guitar is there, the raw shouts and wails are there...but the quite, reticent moments are quieter and more reticent. The addition of cellist Gretta Cohn adds a subtle chamber music feel underneath the spells of stabbing guitar chords, creating a more genuine portrait of the circus of anxiety that Cursive is known for. "Tall Tales, Telltales" begins with a spooky, distant organ and piano reminiscent of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (also epic brooders) and builds into one of the most beautiful Cursive songs ever.

Burst and Bloom is not a masterpiece, but it is a fine, solid EP indicative that Cursive is too self-conscious to fall into the trap of merely rehashing past albums. If this is where Cursive is headed, then I'm glad they are going there.
Burst and Bloom

Burst and Bloom

LP / CD / MP3