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Cursive
Photo by Ariel Panowicz

Posthardcore Veteran Cursive Returns With an Anxiety-Fueled Album

Fans who are used to waiting a long time between Cursive albums got an early fix October 11, when the long-running posthardcore and emo-style band put out its second full-length release in 12 months.

Frontman Tim Kasher in interviews initially described the Omaha, Nebraska band's new record, Get Fixed, as a companion piece to last year's Vitriola. However, he's since downplayed the connection between the two albums. At the time of its release, Vitriola was Cursive's first LP in six years. Although the music on October's Get Fixed was written and recorded over the same three-year period as Vitriola, Kasher says the two have enough distinct qualities to stand separately from each another.

"For me and the band, certainly, they are companion pieces, but they're so different to us now," Kasher tells New Times. "I'm already getting the sense that some people like Get Fixed more than Vitriola, and the other way around as well. They're different albums, and people connect with them in different ways."

Miami listeners will have the chance to share their own reactions to Vitriola and Get Fixed November 16, when Cursive stops by the Ground with the indie-rock band Cloud Nothings. The show is part of the group's 16-date tour across the Southeast in support of Get Fixed, out via the band's label, Passenger 15. It's Kasher and company's ninth album, dating back to Cursive's 1997 debut, Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes.

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After being at this music thing for more than two decades, Kasher has figured out it's best to tour and put out  new material while excitement among the bandmates is high.

"With music, if you're excited about something, you can't really say, 'Oh, we'll set it aside for a few years' or whatever," he says. "There's more immediacy to it, I think. You don't put it on a shelf and say, 'That's for 2022.'"

Cursive’s angst-heavy discography traffics in anxiety: The clash of Kasher’s wounded vocals and dark lyrical subjects against the band’s intensive instrumentation and interplay can make for an unsettling listening experience. The group’s output holds several experimental detours that see the bandmates play around with the soft-loud tension that forms the bedrock of their music.

In light of the various deviations in their sound, Vitriola represented a kind of return to form for the band. The 2018 album sounds most like the early 2000s iteration of Cursive, but with even more political concerns creeping into Kasher's lyrics.

In that regard, Get Fixed makes a strong case for classification as a companion piece or continuation of Vitriola and its themes.

"Life lived with blinders on/Only looking out for number one/Radio’s skewed to his point of view/Of the good old days when the good ol’ boys ruled," Kasher sings on the single "Barricades."

Kasher isn't purposefully writing politically charged work. It's more like the 24-hour news cycle and a steady diet of surreal headlines are contaminating the stream of consciousness that feeds his creativity.

"For the 25 years we've been doing this band, there's a loose concept I've always had for writing Cursive songs: They answer some sort of question, whether that be a puzzle I'm trying to solve or something nagging at me that feels unanswered," he says. "Really, that's a way of saying 'anxiety' and 'frustration.' Those songs rooted in questions became quite applicable to why the hell all this is happening right now."

It's possible Get Fixed will be the last Cursive record for some time, meaning it might be a while before the band passes through Miami again. There hasn't been any discussion of writing or recording after this tour cycle is finished, Kasher says. "The one plan we've made is taking a break starting early next year."

Cursive. With Cloud Nothings. 7 p.m. Saturday, November 16, at the Ground, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-375-0001; thegroundmiami.com. Tickets cost $20 to $25 via eventbrite.com.

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