Cursive, 'Mama, I'm Swollen' (Saddle Creek)

Critical Mass
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by Spencer Kornhaber

It would be charitable to assume Cursive's sixth album is satirical, but that's the only way to stomach all the humanity-hating it holds. Tim Kasher, now 34, narrates some dude's responsibility-ditching wanderings while obsessing over the fact that we all used to be worthless, instinctual animals that became worthless, self-important humans -- "the joke of all existence," he concludes. The emo-punk angst is cut with little of the band's trademark wit or ingenuity: Most of the songs plod bloodlessly to an inevitable, pointless climax of noise, sour humor, and teen nihilism.

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