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CURSIVE – ‘Vitriola’ Album Review

CURSIVE – Vitriola

CursiveCursive have just released (October 5th) their eighth full length album titled Vitriola. Over the past two decades, Cursive has become known for writing concept albums where frontman Tim Kasher turns his attention to, oftentimes challenging themes, and examines them with an incisively brutal honesty. 2000’s Domestica dealt with divorce; 2003’s The Ugly Organ tackled art, sex, and relationships; 2006’s Happy Hollow skewered organised religion; 2009’s Mama, I’m Swollen grappled with the human condition and social morality; and 2012’s I Am Gemini explored the battle between good and evil.

Vitriola, is different and is not as rigidly themed as the band struggles with existentialism veering towards nihilism and despair. The band also runs O’Leaver’s bar in Omaha, Nebraska when they’re not recording.

The album begins with Free To Be Or Not To Be You And Me where some dissonant and percussive chords leading to a more rhythmic singing and instruments to create a truly excellent piece of storytelling with hints of Roger Waters solo work as it paints an anger on top of restrained epic melody. Pick Up The Pieces continues with the pulsating rhythm, adds serrated guitars, a bit of math-punk intricacy and some hard-hitting lyrics that attack the current state of affairs and then the five and a half minutes of Its Gonna Hurt where Cursive introduce a melancholy cello and create a sound somewhere in-between Airborne Toxic Event and Arcade Fire in its epic scope.

With Under The Rainbow, Cursive churn out staccato riffs and drums supporting a sad and melancholy vocal creating an urgent atmosphere full of desperation andRemorse introduces a piano, ambient feedback and laid back vocals that combine to craft a rather dystopian package. The six minutes of Ouroboros are pounding, dark and head banging grinding power mixed with some industrial feedback whereas Everending is a little more up tempo but contains clashing cymbals, cello laments and a vocal full of separation and pleading.

Ghost Writer maintains the overall ambience of pleading for something better as keyboards battle with grungy riffs and solid beats to build a futuristic ballad that reminded me of an off-kilter Blur. The penultimate track, Life Savings opens with female vocals, some guitar licks and then settles into a slow, driving song with some super guitar work and plaintive vocals and the crashing Noble Soldier-Dystopian Lament is a seven-minute epic with restrained guitar/vocal sections mixing with soaring segments with prominent keyboards and guitars battling for ascendency…the whole package of the entire album is one that reflects the mood of today’s world and it’s a very clever record indeed!

 

You can get Vitiola by Cursive at the following link and all other main destinations online: https://cursive.bandcamp.com/album/vitriola

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