Album Review: Cursive – Vitriola

cursive cover

The murderous sound of a cello bow drawn sharply back and forth, a pounded bass drum and Tim Kasher tauntingly singing…

“So I dug deep down, deep inside myself / To the pitted heart of this scabrous shell

Oddly all I found was a nest of cells / On the hunt for some significance / The indifference of the chromosome prevailed

So I dug deep back through a fractured past / Marriage work and school…

Sadly all my story told was an aging man / just another human organism”

…let’s you know this is Cursive sounding exactly like we hope they do.

Vitriola, Cursive’s first new album in six years beckons you back to the bassinet to listen to the earnest lessons with faint nursery rhyme rhythms attempting to reconcile purpose in nihilism. Kasher’s songwriting, focusing so much on the quotidian and the spiritual realization of the meaninglessness of life, is as refreshing to my ears today as it was when I first heard their classics Domestica and The Ugly Organ.

Going on 40, with family, several bands, some business interests, etc. Kasher still seems willing to expose his heart of hearts at a time when many others would simply move on give up on the questioning or the criticism of life and for others whose foray would sound so disingenuous. But he’s still dealing with these concerns in full throated agony letting everyone know that life is painful (“You know it’s gonna hurt”) but we just keep on keeping on. It’s a vicious cycle (as told in the great song “Ouroboros”).

While cribbing the music from the cello led The Ugly Organ, this album goes back to what had worked so well on that album.

cursive band

Cursive is a tough listen. It’s dark, heavy, cacophonous, and purposefully a bit off which are exactly the reasons that you should listen to them. They are carrying the torch of their hard avant-garde punk rock. So, if you’ve got the guts, give them a try. If you know them, welcome back and enjoy.

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