Analogue Music | Cursive - Get Fixed
Cursive: Get Fixed

Cursive: Get Fixed

Artist: Cursive · Written by Scott Elingburg

Date Released

11 October, 2019


15 Passenger


39 minutes

Few bands thrive on tragedy the way Cursive does.

If, like me, you found yourself immersed in the song cycle of Cursive’s Domestica and The Ugly Organ, then you know nothing is sacred and Cursive can--and will--tackle any tragedy with an album's worth of songs. Art, politics, religion, sex, madness--none of it is off-limits. The way they march headfirst into battle is what makes them such a vital band, a band who never appears content to regurgitate past formulas. Every release from the Omaha-based outfit expands outward, encompassing singer/guitarist Tim Kasher and company's dark visions of modern life. Cursive make high art for lowbrow souls like me, and they succeed at every turn.

After last year's Vitriola, Get Fixed comes quickly but doesn't sound rushed. It also just happens to be the best Cursive album since The Ugly Organ. High praise, I know, but I’ll stand by it. The album's depth grows by every spin.


“What you gonna do when the vultures circle round?” Kasher asks “Vultures.” It’s the first line in the record, equal parts thick darkness and blinding light and it lands like a slap in the face. Is Kasher suggesting we left the band for dead? Did we ignore Cursive for too long?

I'll cop to it. I took them for granted after the last ten years, leaving them behind in my old LP collection. (Happy Hollow was the last LP I spent substantial time with.) But all it took was the first two songs from Get Fixed to reel me back in. How could I have been so dull? I, unwisely, believed I had outgrown them, and thought that their best albums came from the era W. Bush, an era when poisonous rhetoric was a product of the people, but not the POTUS. Shame on me for not paying attention; shame on us for not paying more attention to their prescient warnings.

Cursive don't stray far from a simple, effective formula. They mix equal parts emo, post-hardcore, metal, and art rock together for their sound, but Get Fixed denies the flaws in such easy categorization. It's an album that stands on its own merit, even though many of the tracks were cut from Vitriola’s recording sessions. (May I just offer a heartfelt ’thank you’ to the band for drawing a hard line against releasing a double album? So smart.) You can’t pigeonhole a band that is hitting their stride after nearly twenty years together, all you can do is listen up and listen well.

“Barricades,” is heavy as fuck, all angst and harmony and vintage Cursive sound. “Hate speech used to be shooting the shit / til the snowflakes covered their bully pulpit,” Kasher hisses with raw delight. Lyrically, Kasher knows how to mold wordy phrases into direct hits and the band knows how to swell to a full-on musical assault with him. Staccato drum pops mirror distorted guitars and bass notes come packed with an explosive intensity. Musically, the work of guitarist/singer Ted Stevens and bassist Matt Maginn brings us right to the edge of the cliff as drummer Clint Schnase threatens to throw us off. Producer Mike Mogis reins it in with stark, fluid production that pulls out the delicate work of keys from Patrick Newbery and cellist Megan Siebe. Being a part-time cellist, I can attest that Mogis and Siebe offer pointed attention to detail, notably on “Black Hole Town” and “Stranded Satellite.” Having a cellist in a band as heavy and loud as Cursive is no easy feat. Yet, here it is and, like every other instrumental choice on Get Fixed it works. Does it ever.

Even when the band navigates through a cacophony of instruments and rapid-fire punk-infected guitar riffs on “Content Conman” and “Horror Is a Human Being," the noise never overwhelms the narrative. And when they dial down slightly on "Marigolds," none of the pulse is lost.

What is the narrative pulse of Get Fixed, though? A narrative seems superfluous for songs as volatile as “I Am Goddman” and “Look What’s Become of Us,” but Kasher, in a self-penned letter included with the album, explains that he’s been inspired by Cursive’s recent reunion on Vitriola, but also by the current political climate, namely the "absolutely fucking bonkers fist fuck this world has been getting with its pathetic greedy rise of nationalism." "You feel like you’re getting pushed around, you want to push back,” he writes.

Get Fixed is Cursive pushing back. Pushing back against a wretched present in hopes of a better future and pushing back against the shitshow he sings about on the title track: “Man is a virus / set on this Earth / This human race needs to be fixed.”

Somewhere above the Trumpian hate speech, the disappearing middle class, and our dangerous addictions, Cursive sits, eyes cast up, trying to make a dent in the facade of postmodern life with the most rudimentary of tools. “We never cared much beyond ourselves / now we don’t care for nobody else - not at all,” Kasher sings on “Look What’s Become of Us.” It’s a damning picture but he’s not wrong. All is not lost, however; Get Fixed makes you feel like you can still wake up and change the things that haunt you. Perhaps that’s why the album title is a declarative statement, not a question. There’s still time for a fix, the songs seem to state, we just have to take a hard look at our inflated egos and then reject them. Cursive offers the energy to do so on Get Fixed, but we've got to take it from there.