Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Cursive’s new record Vitriola is characteristically timely


Release date: 05 October 2018
Cursive Vitriola
02 October 2018, 06:00 Written by Ben Lynch
It would have been weird if Cursive, masters of the concept album, steered totally clear of the state of US politics.

Previously addressing numerous ills in society (organised religion took a beating on Happy Hollow, whereas the band’s best record to date, The Ugly Organ, tackled sex and relationships), it felt almost inevitable that the emo/post-hardcore heroes would get to it eventually. And so, here we are.

Supposedly partially influenced by the wife of guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter Tim Kasher, and her general pessimism about the human race, Vitriola paints a pretty bleak picture of life in 2018. Kasher has never shied away from dark subject matter, though rarely has he been as explicit as he is here.

Repeated references to paranoia and self-loathing ("I don’t wanna live forever / I can’t bear the agony’’ on “Everending” and "I am a parasite’’ on “Ouroboros”) reflect the personal response to wider issues in society, as well as a concerning amount of personal frustration. This balancing act of the impact of the world at large and internal conflicts is one of the primary strengths of the record, as Kasher successfully avoids a strict social commentary.

Standout track “It’s Gonna Hurt” meanwhile is prime Cursive, accompanied by a cello that could have been plucked straight out of Modest Mouse's The Moon and Antarctica. Elsewhere, “Pick up the Pieces” is Kasher at his most furious, with Matt Maginn’s bassline combining his own brand of authority with a sense of groove that he does so well.

Unlike the strongest Cursive records, however, Vitriola fails to make its subject matter really squeeze itself out of your headphones and subsequently take over your life. “Under The Rainbow” sounds like a tired punk trying his best to berate the establishment. “Life Savings”, meanwhile, is a similarly stale attack on modern life and its obsession with wealth. You trust Kasher and every word he says; you just don’t feel like fighting for him like you do when he’s at the top of his game.

Where Domestica broke your heart, Vitriola only manages to get you half riled at the world around you. Kasher and co. continue to produce records that hit the nail on the head in terms of topic. This time, however, the hammer blows aren’t what they’ve been before.

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