Cursive – Vitriola

Vitriola is the eighth album from Omaha, Nebraska’s Cursive. It’s an album twenty years in the making and comes eighteen years after their debut Domestica.

By Graeme Smith

Cursive are known and loved for their introspective commentary on the existential nightmare of being human. Previous albums have tackled subjects from domestic violence to sex to art to organised religion and social morality. Unlike their previous albums that focus on a central theme, Vitriola paints with a broader brush and exploring creation, destruction and everything in between.

Despite the different approach, Cursive don’t venture far from their established sound and style, something with which long time fans will be pleased. Opening track Free To Be Or Not To Be You And Me starts explosively from the first bar. Guitars act like bombs, blowing up your speaker and setting a combative tone. The track easily segue’s into Picking Up the Pieces, coping with the destruction already wrought.

One of the more unique parts of the Cursive sound is the inclusion of a cello in an otherwise classic rock line-up. The cello has come and gone during their lengthy career but it’s back, gladly, and used to great effect in track three It’s Gonna Hurt, one of the album’s highlights.

Cursive stick to their heavier end of their spectrum for much of Vitriola, at times feeling a little relentless, but there are quieter moments too. It’s these moments that best showcase their lyrically astuteness. Remorse it’s perhaps the finest example, with a simple piano accompaniment and echoing licks of guitar and mournful cello coming and going to add texture.

Everending is perhaps the shop window for Vitriola, chock full of nihilism but at the same time sonically swelling with hope. In fact, it pretty much sums of the Cursive sound, depressing yet somehow uplifting in its depression if only because it voices the inner monologue we all have behind our happy public facades. It’s what the keeps the fans coming back to Cursive, and we hope they never stop.

Vitriola by Cursive will be released on 5 October 2018. Pre-order here.