Cursive Happy Hollow

Tim Kasher loves concept records. After announcing that Cursive would be going on an indefinite hiatus only a year ago, Kasher was quickly back penning songs for the band’s latest, most accessible effort, the outwardly-focused Happy Hollow. Abandoning the uncomfortable self-loathing of his past lyrical work, this record finds Kasher probing the faults of the American dream while attacking such targets as religion, homophobia, and over-consumption. The music is a significant progression from 2003’s The Ugly Organ; the departure of cellist Gretta Cohn is compensated by the addition of a five-piece horn section. The result is a sound that mixes Cursive’s unique approach to post-hardcore with a classic, big band brass blast, making for an even more interesting listening experience. Most noticeable on stand-outs like "Big Bang,” the horn section makes even Cursive’s least catchy musical moments sound like distorted Duke Ellington, resulting in a more streamlined, but still exciting, version of the band. (Saddle Creek)