Cursive's seventh release, Mama, I'm Swollen, is no turgid album. From note one, the album is loaded with urgency as the ratatat-tat of the drums intermingles with jangling guitars forming soundscapes of loss and longing. Delicate flute and moaning saxophone accent "I Couldn't Love You Anymore" as the band crescendos with vocalist Tim Kasher spitting that "love is an instant not here/not here/not here anymore" as a wild saxophone solo bridges the song to its last triumphant chorus.
Kasher's plaintive lyrics focus on more than just the sorrow that comes from relationships. His lyrics show an admiration for romantic ideals with songs constantly referring to breaking down the pretenses of living as a society man and becoming more in tune with nature and sexuality. In this regard, lead single "From the Hips" and mid-album track "Cavemen" feature similar lyrical content. On "Hips," Kasher sings he "hates this damn enlightenment" and "we were better off as animals." "Caveman" continues on that trend, vocals soaring over organ, guitar and saxophone that Kasher is no "dapper Dan/no family man" and that he'd much prefer to return to nature by, "swinging from the trees with the monkeys."
Cursive has returned to fine form on Mama, with raw, powerful instrumentation and lyrics that evoke a sad sense of loss and desire to get back to nature. Though they've been known for their concept albums, this proves they can make a straight-up rock album and still have it be as imminently listenable as their previous efforts.