Ick’s Pick (Week X): Cursive – ‘Mama, I’m Swollen’

This week I thought I’d adventure off to unfamiliar territory again. I just couldn’t get myself all geeked up to listen to the new Kelly Clarkson or Chris Cornell / Timbaland over and over. So I decided on Omaha’s Cursive, mostly because of their label, Saddle Creek, which was founded by Conor Oberst.

I can affirm, after a few listens, that:

  1. Cursive do indeed rock. And…
  2. Their drummer’s name is Cornbread Compton. That’s reason enough to buy this album as far as I’m concerned.

The album kicks off with “In the Now”, featuring a feedback/effects laden intro, and launching into the repeated chorus “Don’t wanna live in the now / don’t wanna know what I know”; followed up later with “So history repeats / ‘cause present won’t repent”. It’s short, simple and ferocious, like a lot of moments on this record. I find it pretty cathartic myself.

“From the Hips”, which the band kindly offers up gratis on their web site, starts off slow, before singer/guitarist Tim Kasher’s squealing “right?!” brings in the up tempo, double beat madness.

“I Couldn’t Love You” has Kasher channeling his inner Robert Smith – which makes sense – Cursive was picked by the Cure to open for them on their 2004 tour.

You won’t believe how soft and pleasant they can make a song called “We’re Going To Hell”. But there’s also an underlying doom and creepiness. The song has sort of a Pixies-like vibe going on too.

And the boys get downright evil on “Mama, I’m Satan”:

I’m writing out a confession
My fathers and brothers
Raped your sisters and mothers
We are the sons of butchers
All in all we’re pawns
The darkness of mankind stirs in us all

Songs like “Mama, I’m Satan”, “Let Me Up”, and “Mama, I’m Swollen” – and really the feel of the record – take the listener into the darkness – some ugly fugly places. I feel like taking a shower and finding a church, and I’m not even that religious. Holy smokes…

For those looking for some quality power-indie-post-punk, and aren’t afraid to step into the shadows for a while, this album fits the bill.

Buy Mama, I’m Swollen

Links: Official Site | MySpace (be sure to listen to “Dorothy at Forty” – one of the rockin-est grooves I’ve ever heard) | Last.fm

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