Album Review: Cursive “Vitriola”



Chuck McCammon, contributor

For those already familiar with Cursive, you are going to love this album of dark musical complexity and existential ruminations.

Vitriola has everything listeners desire from primary songwriter/vocalist Tim Kasher.  There’s personal awareness of triumphs and failures. His humble blood drips over every second. The entire band emphasizes the shifting motifs brilliantly as they have always done.

Fans of previous Cursive releases Domestica and The Ugly Organ will not be disappointed. There’s a sense of familiarity here, like cruising at an even keel in uncertain seas. Lyrically, Kasher is in inspired, prime form. His words reflect us having lost our way, while heartbreakingly falling in step with torturous dictators and self-serving foes. Gemini twins can be both evil and good. Vitriola is split. While listening, you will feel like you are running towards chaos, grabbing at dreams while entertaining demons. Socially knocking on the door of “we’re fucked if we don’t change.”

First single “Life Savings” is the most immediate, accessible cut on the record. A bass and drum groove gloriously chug along while Kasher sings/shouts his frustration on the perceived value of money. A gently strummed acoustic and cello middle interlude erupts into further moments of fabulous angst and fury. The tension and release is timed perfectly and accentuates the song’s intentions.

Change does not seem close at hand on this album. Clarity brings along its pals pain and hope. We just don’t want to die being remembered as an asshole, nor should we work for one.

Rating: 9 out of 12 cans of PBR!


About Ben Allen

Our music editor Ben Allen was born one stormy evening in a quaint Northern California coastal village. Upon birth he was immediately exposed to the soothing analog sounds of artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Captain Beefheart and Santana. As the lad grew, so did his appreciation for an assortment of abrasive hard rock. A pubescent flirtation with butt metal was shattered in the early 1990’s by exposure to Nirvana and other so-called “Alternative” bands. While in college, our protagonist became a DJ on a local station, and began work as a freelance music journalist. During this period he became entranced with artists such as Tortoise, Slint, Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices and Pavement. Currently Allen resides in Arcata, CA where he continues to obsess and salivate over new recordings by his favorite artists. He works with music industry people to ensure that Savage Henry’s contributors receive music and other promotional materials. He also writes a silly monthly list titled “Ben’s 10.”

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