Reviews

The Ugly Organ

08/05/2003 | Hear Say | Album Review
Cursive: The Ugly OrganCursive, The Ugly Organ
Saddle Creek

Let it not be said that a band's geographic locale sets the mood for its music's demeanor - Omaha, Nebraska may be flat and staid, but Cursive is anything but such middle-of-the-road sentiment. A quartet releasing their fourth full-length disc, the obliquely titled The Ugly Organ, Cursive can conservatively be described as intense, anguished, angry and relentless. "Emo" comes to mind as a rallying genre to drop the band into for an easy fit, but the band's music and vitriolic spirit is too passionate, too forceful to remain in such an easily labeled box. Perhaps indie-metal, removing the guitar wank and adding violins, would be a better tag? But then there's that damn ugly organ.

Led by guitarist/vocalist Tim Kasher, whose raspy vocals suggest Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock or even Weezer's Rivers Cuomo after three packs of smokes, Cursive released its debut CD, Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes, in 1997. Since then the band has matured and traded some members, with their latest sound accumulating textural richness and originality rather like an approaching aural avalanche, even as the songwriting gains the strength to convey sheer feeling via music. "Staying Alive," am empathically beautiful song, features Kasher's confessional whispers as the song begins to build - "I've decided tonight, I'm staying alive" - and the emotional impact of the song structure and the tortured instrumentation conveys the heartbreak of a relationship that ripped the singer apart. This final song is worth the entire disc.

Recommended for fans of Fugazi on a simple day, U2 on an Emo day, Modest mouse on a vulnerable day. Grade: C+

By Daiv Whaley

March 2003
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

LP / CD / MP3