A band talking to their younger selves, after having changed.
Get Fixed marks the eighth LP for Cursive, coming just a year after the release of their existential-explosion, Vitriola. In a statement given to Consequence of Sound, the Nebraska rockers made it clear that, even though Get Fixed comes from the same place as its predecessor, it “feels as though it has been emancipated from the Vitriola sessions.” This liberty may not pass for some – Get Fixed could easily have been a B-side release – but sometimes, too much of a good thing can be good for long, and Cursive knows it, playing on their past success for this release.
Tim Kasher opens with a blatant acknowledgment of the listener, running on his all-time creaky vocal delivery for “Vultures.” In a way, Kasher and his crew feel like the vultures circling above us, dropping chunks of meaty instrumentals as they fly on. Some of the band’s sweet punk orchestration comes in midway, recalling a sound from The Ugly Organ that we all came to adore. It’s a pretty general consensus that this was Cursive at their peak – anything after that was merely a divergence. However, the choral harmonies and drum processions that end off this 2-minute starter suggest a confident resurgence of that defining 2003 sound.
Cursive opens up a wide stylistic narrative, and while it’s still chained to the pop-rock conventions they’ve recently embraced, something else emerges from it, something familiar. The familiarity is twofold – the angsty emo anthems, and then the refined instrumental identity, the best and worst parts of Cursive playing out together, just touching hands.
This duplicity is everywhere, even in the single tracks. “Stranded Satellite” opens with dissonant riffs and sluggish melodies, exactly the force and style that comes from Vitriola, yet ends more creatively, experimenting with piano interludes and synth-string echoing. “Human Being” and “Black Hole Town” do much of the same, jumping from one Cursive to another, conventional to cumulative, scowling to stoic.
Tracks like “Barricades” and “Look What’s Become Of Us” go the other way. They’re more like fillers, moments of confusion amidst the rest, though still in place for the sake of making a full-length album.
“Marigolds” feels like the centerpiece of the record. It’s a beautiful, arpeggiated arrangement showcasing Kasher’s tender vocal ability, and it’s certainly Cursive at their strongest. It slowly moves into a haunting orchestral ballad, playing on subtle electronics and stunted rhythms. By the end, it becomes a fully formed instrumental beast, like a never-ending vortex, moving through time and space at high speed. This is 2003 Cursive, though re-established within a contemporary context, and if the feeling is anything to go by, this was a moment of discovery for the band. This is what they’ve been chasing for so long, and their relief can be felt overwhelmingly so.
If Get Fixed was a conversation, it would be like talking to your younger self, adopting your younger mannerisms and reimagining yourself after having changed. Cursive are searching for the remnants of their older sounds, searching for the things that built them up. There are places where they fail, where they hit a brick wall, and there are places where they find themselves with brilliant clarity. These moments make the album worth listening to, and more so, remind us of the band we’ve followed for eleven years, through every turn and bend.