The Cursive guys primp in preparation for the Gypsy Tea Room.

Curse the demons that haunt Cursive lead singer Tim Kasher, preventing his arrival at Happy Hollow. For a decade now, the Omaha native has sworn at nearly everything under the sun. 1997's Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes tackled personal disillusionment through fractured dynamics, while Domestica raged with post-divorce bitterness and despair. The dissonant blare of The Ugly Organ matched Kasher's tireless self-loathing and music industry-induced mortification while making Paper Chaser John Congleton appear almost sane in the process. In many ways, the group's sixth record, Happy Hollow, aims to portray The Difference Between Houses and Homes, last year's career-spanning odds and ends compilation. The 14-song concept album confronts the sterilizing effect of small-town suffocation: Christian hypocrisy, desperate housewives, conservative politics, American dreams, etc. Kasher even criticizes state-approved chemistry classes ("Bad Science") and the "Big Bang," the latter creating a cluttered and cacophonous clash of horns that rivals its namesake. Oh hell, there goes the neighborhood. Sunny Day Real Estate's Jeremy Enigk tears out another page from his Diary, and Seattle punks the Cops arrest early.

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