Burst And Bloom
By: Eric Greenwood
Tim Kasher obviously takes himself way too seriously, but, wait, he's deconstructing himself in the first song. The title track of this EP is a disclaimer that eliminates any mystery between musician and fan. Kasher's tongue in cheek take on the self-proclaimed "marketing scheme" that is this EP swells with emotion, despite its sarcastic tone: "they've got a good fan base, they've got integrity/they've got a DC sound, Shudder To Think, Fugazi, and Chapel Hill around the early '90's- this is the latest from Saddle Creek."
Kasher delivers his vocals in a half-spoken/half-sung tone reminiscent of Ian Mackaye's mellower moments, perhaps, deliberately so, as Mackaye's band is obviously name-dropped. Kasher builds the tension masterfully even if the lyrics do make your mouth pucker at times. The clean guitar strums lightly behind propulsive drumming that quickens with anticipation at the charge of distortion to come. Kasher's intonation becomes angrier as the lyrics grow more personal and the guitars surge with him: "these words I'm driving into the ground/the same words I scream out over the crowd/ I'm just an airwave rolling around/I storm and crash with out a sound."
Cursive's dynamics are what keep it from sinking into the mush with all the other sensitive-minded punk bands. Kasher sounds like he means what he says; there's not a trace of contrivance in his emotional outbursts. "The Great Decay" works off angular riffs and hurried changes with Kasher's pained inflection leading the way. He's got a great scream when he lets loose. "Tall Tales, Telltales" pushes the punk envelope with its five-minute plus running time, but the band keeps things interesting with extreme tides that ebb and flow, culminating in a huge, guitar-charged chorus.
In addition to its killer title, "Mothership, Mothership, Do You Read Me?" flaunts the band's tricky guitar work and produces yet another equally catchy and potent chorus. Every song has a noisy climax, an emotional payoff that sucks you into the heart of the turmoil and makes your hair stand on end. "Fairy Tales Tell Tales" almost falls victim to its own technical complexity and overwrought sensibility, but Kasher once again comes through with the rocking goods. As long as you don't let the miserable lyrics distract you from the melody and the rock, you should be fine.