The dramatic conceit, borne out by an artsy lyric sheet, is that this album originates from a single rambling note written by a man cast adrift on the town after a lovers’ spat. The question is: Who thought overwrought late night-ramblings could or should be set to music in their entirety? “I Couldn’t Love You” is maudlin, and “Caveman” is too wordy to be any fun. The pervasive religious imagery is intriguing but over-the-top.
I give Cursive props for producing a concept album in the age of the downloadable single, but listening to Mama, I’m Swollen is like watching a stage play adapted from a 19th-century German bildungsroman: interesting once, but I’m not going there every night.
Cursive plays the Palace Lounge Sunday, June 21, at 9 PM, with Boxelder. $13.