It seems like Cursive have really been mislabeled by the press and as a result by potential listeners who are squeamish about genre tags like emo or indie. Cursive's early career found them taking many left turns away from the sound developed by bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Christie Front Drive and creating a brand of indie that was heavier and had much more intricate guitar arrangements (Domestica) than that of their peers. As a result they got lumped in with the early 2000s resurgence of post-hardcore that grew out of Grade's and Refused's multi-faceted legacies. They were always outliers from both of those crowds and eventually aligned themselves more with their labelmates Bright Eyes by embracing introspective indie (The Ugly Organ) that was influenced by the singer-songwriter genre. They took off and ran with indie's textural and orchestral possibilities and became a parody of their previous styles by writing abstract pop songs (Happy Hollow) that attracted the attention of the pitchfork crowd after years of being championed by Alternative Press as an (ugh) emo band. Their newest album, Mama, I'm Swollen is a return to form circa 2002 (in between Domestica and The Ugly Organ that has been indelibly altered by their forays into indie, pop, and singer-songwriter. Lead songwriter Kasher is self-flagellating in his typically maudlin fashion, but the backdrop reconciles the experimentation of their recent albums with the potent immediacy of their earlier style. Mama, I'm Swollen is a rare kind of album in that encapsulates Cursive's entire career without feeling like a rehash. Forget about any unwarranted labels attributed to Cursive and lay your prejudices down; they are a genre unto themselves and deserve a listen.
Mama, I'm Swollen  - Download - Review