I was introduced to Bright Eyes and Cursive at the same time. They were both essential to shaping my high school brain,from the way I thought and believed in art to the way I colored my life. Bright Eyes was more prolific and critically acclaimed, releasing several albums in the time it took for Cursive to drop one. So I listened to Bright Eyes more and eventually they became the "main" band of these teenage years.
It bothers me when people don't get Cursive. When they like or dislike them because they sound like some derivation of Thrice, it's disappointing. Underneath the alt-rock chord thrashing, there's some deeply raw writing that deserves more credit. Tim Kasher seems to rip into his soul for his audience, even at the cost of alienating them, even at the cost of strange meta commentary about the song he's singing. He gets to you, if you listen closely.
Cursive's last album was Happy Hollow, a concept about a fictional small town and its hypocrisies, its complex social troubles, and most of all its religion. Cursive always does concept albums. Domestica, one of their best, was the image of a young marriage run through the wood chipper of divorce. The Ugly Organ saw a dark, cello-flavored look at the nature of expressive art and sadness exploitation. The thing is, when you sing about the dark recesses of your mind so often, at some point you run out of things to say. Once you've admitted everything, even admitting your admittance, you're empty. A lot of bands run into this, Bright Eyes included, and there are different options: You can start to tell stories about other people, with some detachment, or you can get political/philosophical. Happy Hollow did both, and as Pitchfork said, they became a "words band."