The Ugly Organ

Author: Kelefa Sanneh
04/03/2003 | Rolling Stone | | Album Review
So it's come to this: a hardcore album about a hardcore album. By the second verse of the second song, singer Tim Kasher is already fed up: "Oh, a second verse! Well, color me fatigued/I'm hiding in the leaves, in the CD jacket sleeves." And by the second paragraph, you -- the reader -- are fed up, too. Don't worry; Kasher understands how you feel. "These people, they just want pain," he moans, and he turns the story of a frustrated bandleader into the story of a frustrated lover. The focus shifts from the ugly organist to the ugly organ. Cursive, from Omaha, Nebraska, have already made three impressive albums, topping jagged riffs with screamy disquisitions. The Ugly Organ is a brilliant leap forward, thanks in part to the addition of the cellist Gretta Cohn (she also plays with Bright Eyes), who can find a melody when Kasher can't, or won't. This band was always as nasty as it wanted to be, and now it's as pretty, too. Cohn's gentle cello line drives "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale," which recasts Pinocchio as a fickle boyfriend who walks to his watery grave. The anguished love songs make the meta-hardcore experiments more believable, and vice versa, until it's hard to tell which is which. The album ends the same way most of these relationships do: soon and slowly. After only half an hour, the ten-minute-long finale starts, and a choir announces the end of another love, and another album: "The worst is over."
4 stars out of 5
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

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