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8/10

Cursive - ‘Mama I’m Swollen’

Rachel Kellehar
Rachel Kellehar 5 June 2009 at 16.00

Cursive - ‘Mama I’m Swollen’ Cover

Cursive have returned to classic form with a crashing mid-life implosion of impeccably articulated angst...

Never a band lionised for their ‘upbeat’ moments, three years and one permanent band member on from 06’s ‘Happy Hollow’, Cursive have returned to classic form with a crashing mid-life implosion of impeccably articulated angst. Writing both from a personal perspective as well as from the mouths of obtuse fictional characters, Tim Kasher’s apparent struggle with the issues of ageing, responsibility and the meaning of life results in an existentialist self-examination that both challenges and inspires. Frequently referring to religious concepts (specifically hell, confession, exorcism and sin), sex, the idea of escaping reality and even elements from fairy tales such as Pinocchio’s ‘Pleasure Island’, a land where selfish boys turn into donkeys, (interestingly, ‘Driftwood’ from ‘The Ugly Organ’ also refers to a Pinocchio-like character), Kasher’s potent word-play is wrapped in cacophonic symphonies that are both reminiscent of the band’s early albums, but also invigoratingly fresh. Opening up their sound by enveloping a wealth of instrumentation from cellos and organs to wind instruments and brass, each track maintains its individual identity whilst exploring related conceptual ground, making this an extremely well rounded listen. Less angry and more introspective than previous albums, this is a thought-provoking, creatively gratifying listen.

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