Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Ugly Organ

Author: Chris Ward
03/07/2003 | The Western Courier | | Album Review
How loud does Tim Kasher of Cursive have to scream to get noticed? His good friend and fellow Nebraskan Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes seems to be getting all the attention lately (deservedly) in all sorts of glossy magazines, but the "big media" has yet to pick up on Cursive.

Oberst even tried to plug Kasher' s efforts - heralding "Yeah, Tim, I heard your album and it's better than good" on "Nothing Gets Crossed Out" from his latest album, "Lifted: Or, the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground" (phew).

Cursive deserves to finally get their dues with their latest triumph, "The Ugly Organ," which has gotten a few (very few) blurbs in Spin recently.

It's a start.

Maybe they should have just titled it "Cursive: Or, This Band Rocks, Keep Your Ear To The Speaker." Like Cursive's last two releases, "Domestica" and the "Burst and Bloom" EP, "The Ugly Organ" wastes no time opening with the one-two punch of "Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand" and "Art is Hard," where Clint Schnase's simple but pronounced kick-drum rhythm is more intense than ever.

The songs, in usual Cursive style, call attention to the craft of songwriting and performing - although Kasher is more sardonic, angrier and frustrated than ever on "Art is Hard," where he laments bitterly and self-reflexively that the very song he's singing may be a waste of time ("Well, here we go again/The art of acting weak/Fall in love to fail/To boost your CD sales ... You've gotta sink to swim").

The album offers two of the best Cursive songs to date ("A Gentleman Caller," and the ten-minute epic "Staying Alive") and proves that Gretta Cohn (on cello) is an indispensable force for the moody art-rock band. Cursive also has the expertise of resident Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis to thank for shaping their ever-maturing sound.

"I've been screaming for years but it gets me nowhere" Kasher shares on "Butcher the Song." My advice to him: If music is getting you nowhere, quit writing such damn good albums. You're more appreciated than you think, you tortured artist you. Here we are now; entertain us!

Grade: A
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

LP / CD / MP3