A horrible hack

Cursive - Eastern Youth

Eight Teeth To Eat You

Year Released: 2002
Format: CD
Label: Better Looking
Reviewed by Mike Whelan on Jun 13, 2007
The press release that accompanied this CD described it as, “a split CD from two of the most forceful bands from opposite sides of the globe … two super-charged masters in the post-core arena.” Pretty strong stuff then. Despite not having a clue as to what “post-core” is supposed to mean (despite it being another example of obsessive pigeonholing), I did think that it sounded pretty interesting.

Cursive are one of my favourite bands at the minute. Last years EP, ‘Burst and Bloom,’ is one of my favourite records. The recent addition of Cellist Gretta Cohn to the band has opened a new depth to their sound, and made them one of the most original bands around.

‘8 Teeth To Eat You’ opens with Cursive’s ‘Excerpts from various notes strewn around the bedroom of April Connolly, Feb 24, 1997,’ the lyrics to which read like a letter from a girl to her ex-boyfriend, the second half of the song being the jilted boyfriends reply. Cohn’s cello gives the song a haunting and atmospheric background, and is much more apparent here than it was on ‘Burst and Bloom.’ Cursive’s next two tracks, ‘Am I Not Yours’ and ‘Escape Artists,’ are both good tracks, though not nearly as good as the opener, but it is on their fourth song ‘May Flowers’ that they show off their amazing ability. Despite its downbeat lyrics and dark content, ‘May Flowers’ is incredible, with off-kilter guitars and a shouted chorus providing most of the volume.

Eastern Youth take the second half of the EP with another four tracks. Although they hail from Japan and sing entirely in Japanese, their sound is unmistakably American. Eastern Youth play a sort of mellow indie/rock that reminds me of Death Cab For Cutie or Penfold, although there is the occasional shouty chorus and loud, wailing guitar. Although I hate to sound narrow-minded, the language barrier prevents me from fully enjoying the Eastern Youth songs. They do certainly know how to pen a good tune though, and their second and fourth tracks on this CD (‘Useless Man’ and ‘I Am Always There’ respectively) are both very good, but understanding the lyrics is a large part of the listening experience, for me at least.

Overall, Cursive win out on this split, and although the material here is much darker than on ‘Burst and Bloom,’ and not quite as good, the four tracks on offer are still very impressive and well worth a listen.

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