Cursive rocks to the denouement

The Velvet Teen, Race for Titles
The Meow Meow, 527 S.E. Pine
Jan. 29, 9 p.m.
All Ages, $7

With an abbreviation of the word “emotional” being tagged onto nearly every young rock band in America, it would be easy to write Omaha, Nebraska’s Cursive off as just another offspring of the Midwest emo movement. While Seattle’s Sunny Day Real Estate were traveling to Illinois to record and bands like the Appleseed Cast were actually migrating from California to Kansas in order to be closer to the sound they loved, singer/guitarist Tim Kasher and his future Cursive cohorts were integrating the varied sounds of the Midwest into what could be considered either a blueprint for the Midwest sound or a style completely its own with their groups Slowdown Virginia and Commander Venus.

Both of these bands eventually broke up, allowing a newer crop of bands, including The Faint, Bright Eyes and Cursive to become more prominent. Taking the discordant post-punk of Washington, D.C. and the intricate song structures that were recognized as a part of nearby Chapel Hill, N.C.’s musical legacy, Cursive, added a lyrical style that is undeniably Omaha.

With a similar storytelling method as that employed by Omaha natives Simon Joyner and Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Kasher weaves his emotions into stories, often coming from a perspective outside his own. These stories are then woven into an album with a broader narrative all its own. Images reoccur over the course of the record, and themes are revisited from the perspectives of different characters, all the while avoiding the maudlin self-pity that can accompany those lyricists who focus too much on narrating the tragic events of their own lives. When Kasher sings about an unoccupied barstool, he is able to convey an emotional depth and sympathy for his absent human subject that can be felt regardless of one’s own life experience.

The first two Cursive records, before their initial break-up, are an experience that is comparable to reports of their legendary live shows during this period.

The music is extremely raw and edgy and gives the impression that a song could either completely explode or suddenly extinguish itself without warning. When listening to either of these records, especially 1997’s Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes, audience members cannot help but feel they are being coerced into something dangerous as pleasant moments are interrupted by Kasher’s forceful, and often completely unexpected, scream.

When Cursive came back in 2000 with a new guitarist and backing singer, Ted Stevens, the band was as an almost entirely new entity.

With the help of Steven’s precision, the band had focused the previously reckless approach to song structure and produced the terse and explosive Domestica, a 36-minute record of a doomed relationship and the resulting divorce, replete with jealousy, spiteful vindication and the hurtful game of “who needs who the worst.”

Since the critically acclaimed and popularly consumed album, the band has recorded two EPs and an upcoming full-length with cellist Gretta Cohn, who moves perfectly with the band through its darker, poppier and more nerve-grinding moments.