I think it was about a month ago that Omaha, Nebraska’s Cursive released their sixth proper full length, Mama, I’m Swollen on the stalwart indie label Saddle Creek Records. Strangely (though) this album may have gotten more attention for its marketing than its music so far, because (like so many others out there) Cursive and (maybe more importantly) Saddle Creek are trying to figure out how to best operate in the swiftly and ever changing landscape of music distribution and consumption. Basically, before Mama, I’m Swollen was released physically, Saddle Creek offered up the album digitally for $1 on March 1st, $2 on the 2nd, $3 on the 3rd, and upwards to $10 until the actual March 10th release date. And while I’m not sure how successful this promotion was, I know it got me to jump at the opportunity to buy Mama, I’m Swollen for a buck and surely generated a lot of buzz around the release.
The record itself was a bit of a grower for me. It begins abruptly with the frenetic guitar clanking of “In The Now” and then on into “From The Hips” (which you may have seen them perform on Letterman), but finds Tim Kasher and his band of merrymakers never insistent on keeping the tempo up and opting for something a little more (gasp!) subdued. Almost from the start it is apparent that Cursive is a band that isn’t afraid to (relatively speaking) take chances and make the music they want to make, but if you’ve followed the band for any length of time you already know that, right? I was first introduced to Cursive in 1999 by Mike (formerly the guy who ran Rebound records and now the Love Has No Logic guy) just as Domestica was released. I actually may have bought the album from him at the Fireside.
I’ll admit that the first few times I listened to Mama, I’m Swollen I was totally underwhelmed, but I’ll be the first to admit that I also wasn’t completely smitten with Cursive’s previous album Happy Hollow. This time around maybe it’s because there are way more quieter moments on the album that I was expecting, or maybe it’s just that I need to stop hoping that the band will make Domestica: Part 2 and enjoy Cursive for what they are (or aren’t) these days. There is plenty of bombast on Mama, I’m Swollen and Cursive still knows how to be as noisy and dense as anyone else, but they choose not to be (at least all the time). There are the brass parts we’ve grown to know (and either love or hate) over the past few Cursive records and even some nifty slide guitar on “Caveman.” To me this sounds like the closest Cursive will ever get to making a country album, and I’m just fine with that. Really, I am. Sure, Mama, I’m Swollen is a bit different from what the band has done before, but it is still undeniably Cursive. And (really) would you expect anything less from Cursive?
MP3 | Cursive – From The Hips Mama, I’m Swollen