Recorded at hometown Omaha, NE’s ARC Studios with Mike Mogis -- who last co-produced with Cursive on Happy Hollow -- Vitriola takes a different approach than the tightly woven conceptual albums of the band’s past. It is less rigidly themed and more responsive, and finds the band struggling with existentialism veering towards nihilism and despair; the ways in which society, much like a writer, creates and destroys; and an oncoming dystopia that feels eerily near at hand. There’s a palpable unease that wells beneath Vitriola’s simmering requiems and fist-shakers: at its core, the album is about a search for meaning that keeps coming up empty, and finding the will to keep going despite the fear of a dark future. The album directs frustration and anger not only at the universe at large and a modern society that seems to grow more confusing, unstable, and chaotic with each passing day, but also inwardly towards ourselves -- illustrating an uncommon self-awareness that’s become a hallmark of Kasher’s songwriting. “Vitriola was written as a reaction to an ulcer I now live with as a result of all the ‘vitriol’ seeping into our daily lives,” explains Kasher. “Rather than contributing to the anger, hopefully this record can be witnessed as a reflection of our collective anxieties, and perhaps offer a little catharsis.”
Sonically, Vitriola runs the gamut between rich, resonant melodicism, Hitchcockian anxiety (frequently courtesy of Patrick Newbery’s keys and Megan Siebe’s cello, an instrument used here again for the first time since The Ugly Organ), and powerful dynamics -- and no Cursive album would be complete without scream-along lyrics that make for unlikely anthems.