Cursive – Happy Hollow
Saddle Creek 
Wow. I guess that’s how I will start out this review. Review of what you may be asking (which I am sure you are not because you obviously clicked on a link that
had read the title and what album I was to be reviewing) “What album are you reviewing?” Well, let me put that question to rest. I am reviewing the latest from our
beloved Omaha-based rock band, Cursive. The disc? Happy Hollow.
Before I get into talking about this goodie, let me first confide in Cursive’s previous engagements.
The last album we got out of this band had been their b-side disc, The Difference Between Houses and Homes. I think it was released to help ease listeners and fans alike over until we would hear anything new from this band. But before we had that gem, we got an album that would really show what Cursive had, and this classic was called The Ugly Organ. It rocked. Seriously. They had a cellist in the band. This had definitely been a one up for them. Hell, before that we got a (what I would like to call their best) album by the title Domestica. I would love to call it Cursive at their prime, but I know many would like to debate with me about the Ugly Organ already taking the title, but to me… Sorry.
Anyways, let me get to this new one. Happy Hollow, a great album. Truly a ruby for these guys since their loss of Gretta Cohn the cellist, but the album had a down flaw in that. It seemed they still took that step backwards. Yep, they still didn’t live up to that sound The Ugly Organ had, or that sound of Domestica. But don’t let that alarm you, these guys changed their rock sound to an even better horn-rock sound. The horns really do brighten the mood on this record, since the CD does have a rather dark mood due to the album’s concept, which is sorta vague to me on one matter: Who are all of these people? I really think I got just the jist of it: There’s 14 songs – 14 Hymns as Tim Kasher calls ’em; There’s a great sense of religion going through the album – there’s even a character that of a priest in the story; And the rest is all stories of different people living amongst each other in the town of Happy Hollow. It’s sort of like a Tarantino thing of Cursive to do.
Some of the tracks sound a little overproduced and are a little too “busy” or unorganized. There seem to be all of these different elemental instrumentation going on in the songs like as if the band was trying to hide up that patch where there could have been some great cello going on.
I may sound like there is no good going on for Cursive in this review, but I’d like to add it’s great qualities. Kasher really brings back the “umph”, the strength that Cursive has been known for through their career. The lyrics are still heavy (as in cool). We don’t have that amazing line of “My egos like my stomach. It keeps shitting what I feed it”, but we do get some scientific lingo with the line “Every molecule, every atom / Every single particle down to the quark / Until they break it apart”. It’s pretty neat.
This is yet another release for Cursive, and they have done no wrong.