Cursive is one of those bands that do a really good job at hiding what they are up too. Before the announcement of the leak of “Happy Hollow”, I didn’t even know Cursive was even releasing an album. “Domestica" was announced after the band had apparently broken up (but really just lost a few members). Basically they know how to hide their activity. I wasn’t heavily into the band when “Burst and Bloom" was released but I’m pretty sure nobody knew about the inclusion of a cello player, which when you think about it is extremely strange. If one of your favorite bands was releasing an album and decided to add a member and coincidently completely reshape parts of their sounds, I’m sure you would most likely know about it. But then again, Cursive is one of those bands that do a really good job at hiding what they are up too.
While the band does have a skill at concealing their actions, they certainly have none of that attribute involved with the actual music of the album. I mean, “Domestica" was basically a nine song write off of lead singer Tim Kasher’s wife, so this band does tread heavily into their own lives for subject matter. While “Domestica" was completely centered on the life and collapse of ones love life, “Burst and Bloom" does take aim at examining the endless wheel of society (The Great Decay) as well as Kasher’s opinions on the press and their view on Cursive (“Opener Sink To The Beat"). With this change of subject matter, a more diverse sound seems to be needed, so the fading out of Kasher’s emotional growl, and the bands heavy guitar interplay is not found as heavily on this album as it was on the one preceding it, “Domestica". While there are certainly “old" Cursive moments on it (Tall Tales, Telltales), the inclusion of Greta on cello makes the band concentrate on making lush, more elegant crescendos, in comparison to the cathartic and extremely heavy ones found on “Domestica". While on “Burst and Bloom" they have not fully gone into the alternative path they blazed on “The Ugly Organ" and primarily on their new release “Happy Hollow" the band is certainly experimenting with other genres than the heavy post-hardcore undertones of “Domestica". Essentially “Burst and Bloom" is the bridge that Cursive walked over too become their current self. While they are still leaning on Kasher’s emotional cat call, they are also slowly refining the off tuned guitars, and the off beat drum play. While this may come to as a disappoint too some, I think that its pretty obvious the band was going to take this route, and while I favor their older material much more than the more recent, I respect them for branching out of their rut of comfortableness.
“Burst and Bloom" is a solid EP that gives the listener that rare peak into what a band was thinking before they completely changed their sound. Cursive’s strengths of great lyrics, great guitar interplay, and lush instrumental ability help make “Burst and Bloom" an EP too remember, and also one of the strongest releases in Cursive’s discography.