Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen
Reviewed by Andreas on 30th March 2009
You get an album by Cursive. For those not in the know, Cursive are from Omaha, SomewhereintheUS (I want to say Colorado) and release records on Saddle Creek records, sharing an impressive roster with the likes of Bright Eyes (frontman Tim Kasher is a member of "The Good Life" with Conor Oberst. Indiescensterpoints ahoy). Cursive have been active and releasing records since the late 90s. This, their fifth album, sounds like they've finally found their own place.
Yours truly first came into contact with Cursive when they released their breakthrough album, The Ugly Organ. The "Organ" dealt with creativity, art and basically being a big, damn hero. Also, if you spot the sci-fi reference I'll give you a dollar. It was an energetic, dirty and at times intentionally ugly affair that garnered a big bag of hype, some good singles and a couple of horrible videos. That was six years ago now, and my, how Curisve have grown.
See, I always put Cursive down as one of those bands that write a couple of good songs and then for the rest of their career do filler songs for the teen slasher film soundtracks. This is me putting my hand up and confessing to being in the wrong. "Mama, I'm Swollen" present a band that's grown up, have developed their songwriting and still manage to rock out, despite having beards. The album is quite firmly placed within the rock genre, but the songwriting is quite possibly timeless.
It doesn't take many listens to fall head over heels for this album. Second song in, "From the Hips", is quite possibly the best song you'll hear in 2009. The bass, the guitars, even the horns are right where they need to be, and you're a cold-hearted sod if you don't get the shivers as Kasher sings that "our hips said it all!", his voice turning into a scream right at the end. The wrenching "Couldn't Love You" is no less a massive song that certainly makes me jump about some. And I'm a very lazy guy.
It's not all flowers and peaches, though. "Donkeys" is the token "skip to the next track" number, and thus it keeps getting skipped. It drags the whole experience down. Luckily the band gather strength and come back in full force further into the album. "Let Me Up" is a real stomper, and cements "Mama, I'm Swollen" as Cursive's best effort to date.
Even if you're not a rock fan, or if you've never liked Cursive, or if you're dead inside, you WILL like this album.
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