Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Here we have great proof that Tim Kasher can turn any song into a Cursive song, giving it such veiny veins, such shredded discourse, such meat, such flame-broiled flare, such presence and such bruises. The lead singer for this - it's fair to say - legendary Omaha, Nebraskan band can make any song swell with hot-blooded valor and sensitivity, with the kind of furious stress and insecurity that comes hand-in-hand with those people who fall into disappointments and screw-ups like some fall into love - with a similar sense of accomplishment and happiness, as if success in brokenness is success nonetheless and it should not be ignored. The bits and the pieces of the once sane minds that Kasher exposes in his songs - loaded with such detailed moments and passionate displays of having a life and its circumstances just run wild upon many - flutter along so coolly. Sometimes just before they're inflamed and sent scurrying for a pond to jump into, panic sets in and turns the mood into a mayday mission that will still leave a person needing some emergency skin grafting and mental disfigurement. The people that Kasher tends to write into his band's songs are struggling mightily, hanging on for dearest life and finding ways to drown out the rottenness. The people that he tends to write into his songs are flooded with the pangs of doubt and remorse, longing for reversed regrets and yet, through it all, the ragged pain feels somewhat validating or normal. Kasher's way of barreling through monologues of the depressed and roughed up souls of the n'er do wells and the miserable fuck-ups is still touching and all-inclusive. It's always a rich and punishing piece of poetry to give a nice spotlight to all things torn from the chest still beating and looking back at the gaping, red hole where it had moments before been safe and warm, with wet, puppy dog eyes. "What Have I Done?" is a signature Cursive song, a man buried under a mountain of despair and darkness, but still kicking, trying to make some sense out of the crap. It comes from the band's latest full-length, "Mama, I'm Swollen," and it's about a man "waiting on the best years" of his life, sitting on dreams, trying to get them to hatch, but realizing that they're all old and spoiled on the insides, that he's sitting and sitting and nothing good will come of it. They won't ever hatch and he'll never write his "Moby Dick," maybe he'll just continue on, pulling on that flask and feeling as if the standstill has made him bleary and blind, despondent, but able to coax out a few final lung-clearing shouts. Then you have Cursive going after David Bowie's "Modern Love," and it should have been theirs' - swearing off modern love, or at least getting fooled by it again, and declaring that they'd rather not leave their home anymore, but just remain inside, perhaps where things can be controlled a little bit easier. And "Love Cats," has the line about "the years that no one heard," and Kasher sings, "How wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty/You know that I'd do anything for you/We should have each other for tea/We should have each other with cream," but it doesn't sound like Robert Smith any longer, just another sequence from a Midwestern man contemplating the stalking and nights of nowhere that tend to start and end in the same spot, a place that's familiar. All dead end's look the same, but some have better narrators.
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