Cursive has been around for what seems like forever. Unlike many other older bands, their worries for today are in anticipation for the future instead of merely longing for the past. Their newest album Get Fixed is as urgent and timely as anything you would expect from a younger band. Unlike younger bands’ works, Cursive creates their music as an introspective, thoughtful approach to the problems they see. The result in Get Fixed is a mixture of disturbing, frenetic energy and deliberate pacing that creates a familiar, but not dated, sound.
Get Fixed sounds angry and upset. As it progresses, the album either moves steadily with a driving force or breaks under its own point and nears discordance. Though it is a narrow path between losing its listener from either extreme, the album doesn’t lose itself. Instead, it juggles a huge variety of instrumentation that is masterfully brought together to reflect the urgency in its message. From piano to violin and many more instruments, there is enough going on that makes the guitar sound never seem stale.
One aspect that is immediately apparent is the use of tempo changes. At times, it feels like the songs are a train about to run off the tracks, but Cursive always manages to bring everything back together. The tempo changes not only from song to song but also within the same song. Though the tempo fluctuates, the sense of emotion never wavers. Creating memorable breakdowns for choruses or buildups, the drastic changes serves to emphasize the feelings of helplessness, frustration, loss, and anger that are ever present. Whether it is slowing down and opening up at the end of “Barriers” or the different sensations of “I Am Goddam” and “Stranded Satellites,” the play between different tempos is effective. The contrast between the reckless nature of the bitterness and indignation is tempered by the slow frustration of how things are now.
This album sounds familiar, but has a distinct darkness about it. You could name any number of artists like Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World or even Fall Out Boy and find similarities between the way they and Cursive sound. But, one aspect from Get Fixed that you can’t shake is that Cursive is undeniably darker and more pessimistic than the bands they might sound like. And though it is gloomy, the album never feels despairing or truly hopeless. It only reflects the circumstances of the world today as opposed to making up crises. As a true reflection, there can still be hope despite any hardship.
At first glance, the lyrics “I am no Messiah, I’m just a mess” in “I Am Goddamn” is the perfect summary of Get Fixed. It tells the problem, but promises nothing. Yet, there is more in the album, like the lyrics that shows this view is not entirely accurate. Though messy, Get Fixed is never a pointless mess and the album is a surprising listen with an overall strong track list. It ends slowly, but it is merely building for what is to come.