Domestica is, for all intents and purposes, the most brash, abrasive, and personal Cursive album to date.
It is, in a way, a concept record: based on lead singer Tim Kasher’s divorce, the two characters are “Sweetie” and “Pretty Baby.” But the term concept is a loose one, considering the semi-autobiographical nature of the songs.
At just 9 tracks and 32 minutes long, it’s by far the shortest full length release from the Saddle Creek mainstays. And even though it was released a full 13 years ago this June, that doesn’t stop Domestica from being the album that makes drunken members of the Cursive album bellow out “The Martyr” at their live shows.
That song is in so many ways the quintessential Cursive tune: angular guitars that take a back seat when they need to; a biting, caustic narrative with a clever twist; and Kasher’s vocal aggression offset by shrill whispering. Within the story, “The Martyr” could be the one begging for attention, the manipulator looking for pity – or at the very least, some sympathy (“Your tears are only alibis / To prove you still feel / You only feel sorry for yourself”).
But taken out of context of Domestica’s story, it could very well be about Jesus Christ (“Well get on that cross / That’s all you’re good for”). The band has been known to write an occasional ditty about religion (see: all 14 songs on Happy Hollow!).
Such is the beauty of the way Kasher writes. Multiple entendres (“I threw out the phone to try to get through to you!” from “The Radiator Hums”), needling self-deprecation and loathing (“Sometimes I get so naked, I sing like a canary” from “Making Friends and Acquaintances”), and a general sense of apathy (“The Game of Who Needs Who the Worst” and “The Night I Lost The Will To Fight”).
Domestica is difficult to listen to at times because of how real it feels. There’s been many times I’ve been waist-deep in a knock-down, drag-out relationship fight and also lost the will to fight. It’s a universal feeling, one that Kasher has been able to capture for all lookers-on.
It may make you uncomfortable, but I think that’s a show of success.
From the album also known as Cursive’s Domestica, this is the first ever song of theirs I ever listened to: “The Martyr” –
Standout tracks: “The Radiator Hums” and “The Casualty”
Weakest track: “Making Friends and Acquaintances”
RIYL: Alt-rock, aggressive indie rock. Thrice, maybe?