If the Thermals deploy a scrappy punk platform to address national concerns, Cursive inverts the formula. On Happy Hollow, the quartet takes the same fears and frustrations about faith and identity and narrows the focus to claustrophobic small-town America. To do so, singer Tim Kasher gives his songs a more cinematic scope and a larger, somewhat softer sound although all the horns and keyboards don't dull Hollow's message: On "Flag and Family," a young recruit asks his girlfriend-turned-zealot, "When you're down on your knees, are you praying for holy war?" Sounds like these tourmates will have a lot to talk about in the green room.
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