Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Ugly Organ

Author: Justin
03/24/2003 | | | Album Review
(Enter The Ugly Organ)
Ever have one of those days where everything in your life seems to be crashing down around you? It takes every ounce of energy to lift your head off the tear-soaked pillow, and when you're finally up it takes all restraint to keep from shattering the mirror that reflects your pain. Maybe if you could just see your heart, then you could analyze everything; you could see the root of that pain and finally know that it isn't a figment of your imagination. Here is your chance; The Ugly Organ is that looking glass into the human heart.
Cursive's latest release captures this essence of emotion while wrapping it up tightly in musical genius, giving an explicit look at life, sex, relationships, loss, insecurity, creativity, maturity and survival. This concept album/tongue-in-cheek commentary of life explores the innermost feelings and poses the question, "What is your ugly organ?"
Enough emotional banter. A year and a half after the Burst and Bloom EP and its unforgettable lyrics, "building awareness for the next LP,"Cursive puts any of the slightest doubt to rest with The Ugly Organ. This album is an amazing example of cohesion and brilliant musicianship. Instrumentally, The Ugly Organ far surpasses Cursive's previous releases. To start, I must introduce the newest addition to the Cursive line-up, Gretta Cohn. Joining the band on Burst and Bloom, and sticking around for The Ugly Organ, Cohn's incredible cello skills add yet another dynamic to the band's sound. The familiar disjointed guitar riffs and resonating percussions have been tied together with Gretta's melodic, beautiful and sometimes eerie cello work and topped off with an organ, chimes, bells, and trombone to create a soundscape of symphonic magnitude. Perfectly entwined with this chaotic, yet symphonic, instrumentation are lyrics that will rip your heart out in tiny pieces while you stand helpless, only to carefully place each piece back and dress your wounds. Often examining distressing situations, as well as himself (many times in an extremely self-deprecating manner), Tim creates short stories of epic proportions. The album unfolds as a short (forty and some odd minutes to be exact) play. Even brief stage directions are given in the liner notes.
Tearing through the speakers, Cursive lets their presence be known with vicious cello lines and thunderous guitar to open the album in "Some Red Handed Slight of Hand"and "Art is Hard."Slowing down a little, but never losing power, "The Recluse"delves into the intense personal feelings of lost relationships, doubts and "what ifs."Further down the line, "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale"flows out, bringing comparisons to Pinocchio and being brought to life by a person, only to have it fail. Honestly, I could write for pages and pages about this album, but this is only a review, not a goddamn dissertation. Ending with the grand finale, "Staying Alive,"Cursive is joined by a choir of their label mates and friends singing the line "the worst is over,"ending the cathartic journey. Much like a great work of art, the radiant beauty in The Ugly Organ is seen only by the viewer (in this case the listener).
This album has remained in my CD player for two straight weeks, and I doubt it will be replaced anytime soon. With each listen something new appears, and I am left speechless, with cold chills. Tried and true Cursive fans: just when you thought it couldn't get any better, The Ugly Organ steps up and proves that great things can be made remarkable. New fans: this is what great music is all about. This album will certainly not let you down. I promise.
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

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