Ever since Cursive burst onto the music scene in 1997, the band has consistently and continually churned out heady albums heralded by critics and fans alike. Wrestling with life's miseries and mysteries, Mama, I'm Swollen is an album brimming with the universal, questioning the human condition, social morality, and the 'Peter Pan Syndrome' of grown men.
Midway through touring in early 2007, original drummer Clint Schnase amicably departed the band. After a short break following a national tour with Mastodon and Against Me! and feeling somewhat conflicted about proceeding forward without him, Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn (bass, vocals), and Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals) decided to begin writing- only without the ambitions of necessarily turning it into the next Cursive record. Shortly thereafter, Cornbread Compton (formerly of Engine Down) officially signed on as drummer, and what musically unfolded from this newly realized foursome was indeed, Cursive.
Mama, I'm Swollen finds Kasher at his literate, lyrical best, where references to both Poe ("Going To Hell") and Pinocchio ("Donkeys") are intertwined seamlessly within his own tales of characters grappling with the moral quandary of being human, adult, and playing a role in 'civilized' society. Musically, Cursive is as smart and sophisticated as ever, the songs' rousing, cerebral content complemented by moments alternately hushed and exhilarating (the cathartic "From The Hips," the noisily melodic romp "I Couldn't Love You"), eerily moody and jaunty (the almost prayer-like "Let Me Up," "Mama, I'm Swollen")- moments that often occur within the very same song. From the charging bass lines of album opener "In The Now" to the quiet first chords of confessional closer "What Have I Done?", Mama, I'm Swollen is a natural progression that remains distinctively Cursive: a fluid amalgamation of the band's sound past, present, and future, a band that both your punk kid sister and English-lit grad student best friend can call their own.