The subtitle of this compilation, "Lost Songs and Loose Ends 1995-2001," might very well be replaced by a big, blood-red "FANS ONLY" stamp. The twelve tracks collected here bring together the band's stray seven-inch sides and unreleased tracks -- a fact that, by design, will attract only the most obsessive troops in the Cursive army. The Pixies-on-crank opener, "Dispenser," the earliest track of the bunch, stands out for the streamlined combination of early Cursive's best traits: rising guitar leads, fuck-off lyrics and vocal eruptions. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Houses and Homes
is seen when charting the growth from these chaotic, buzzy songs to the more recent cello-fied, cinematic suites. Young Tim Kasher had not yet discovered that his panting whispers (a hallmark of Domestica
and The Ugly Organ
) are far more piercing and unsettling than his strained screams.