Cursive Difference Between Houses and Homes (Lost Songs & Loose Ends 1995-2001)

[Saddle Creek; 2005]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: indie rock, post-punk
Others: Burning Airlines, Fugazi, The Good Life

Maybe I'm just getting older; maybe the angst and sadness that drove me to alternative and grunge music in the early and mid-90s just doesn't dwell inside me anymore. All the venom and bile that I once spewed on hapless oafs and dimwitted peers has just melted away. Yet, I know that's not the case -- I still love music cranked to 11, I still love screaming vocalists and loud guitars. I love quiet bridges and booming choruses. It's just that Cursive isn't giving me what I want.

Of course, it's easy to point at The Difference Between Houses and Homes and say it's a compilation of old unreleased material and 7" tracks that few have heard, and fewer own. It's a time-honored tradition to take a pile of unused material, put it together, and call it album. This is Exhibit A of tradition going terribly wrong (but when does it go terribly right?). There are no real gems to discover, just a lot of disappointment.

The title would lead you to believe these songs span 7 years of Cursive's little-noticed output, but in truth only one song comes from 2001; the rest represent the music and era of mid-90s apathy. What's worse is how aged and dated these songs sound. Only two of the pre-millennium tracks ("And the Bit Just Chokes Them," "There's a Coldest Day in Every Year") still carry weight today, but the lyrical content is flat and uninspired. Just look at the titles: these could easily be mistaken for Billy Corgan wankery. This is not Cursive at their best.

Thankfully, Cursive isn't relying on The Difference Between Houses and Homes to build a fan base or put asses in seats. And I would stress that this conglomerate of half-baked songs should in no way reflect on the rest of Cursive's canon -- there is a reason most of these songs have gone largely unnoticed and unappreciated. Now we all have a disc to remind us daily of these travesties. Hopefully we can all move on and forget them in peace, leaving "I Thought There'd Be More Than This" to sum up the experience.

1. Dispenser
2. Pivotal
3. Sucker & Dry
4. Icebreakers
5. And the Bit Just Chokes Them
6. There's a Coldest Day in Every Year
7. A Disruption in the Normal Swing of Things
8. Nostalgia
9. The Knowledgeable Hasbeens
10. Polar
11. A Disruption in Our Lines of Influence
12. I Thought There'd Be More Than This