Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Ugly Organ

03/13/2003 | Omaha Weekly Reader | Feature
Learning Cursive

by Chris Wachal

If Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes) is Saddle Creek's photogenic poster boy, Cursive's Tim Kasher is its darker backup singer hungry for the spotlight. Though no less critically acclaimed than their fellow Omahans, Cursive has often been relegated to indie rock's second fiddle.
Of course Cursive has had the same major label offers as other Saddle Creek acts. And just like Bright Eyes and The Faint before them, the band turned them down preferring to stay in comfortable if not cushy Omaha. Yes, they are playing upstairs at Sokol, an option not available to most Omaha indie bands, most of whom are relegated to the confines of the basement of Sokol. And yes, they had a song in heavy rotation on The River (89.7 KIWR) and their video is on the MTV Web site, but none of this makes for a successful career. What Sunday's show, and the ensuing international tour, should demonstrate is Cursive's ability to win fans by translating studio technique into live energy.
This marks the first time in many months since Cursive has taken the stage in Omaha, and only the second time since the March release of The Ugly Organ. The album has been hailed as an indie rock treasure, whose incredible rhythms and make-you-cry string arrangements mesh to support Kasher's deep explorations of himself. The Ugly Organ gives the distinct feeling of violently tearing away Kasher's scalp and skull to probe the darkest recesses of his mind. Angry rants against an archaic music industry ("Art Is Hard," "Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand") find themselves juxtaposed with introspective thought experiments ("The Recluse," "Harold Weathervein"). The result is a combination of personal declaration and satiric rambling that leaves the listener sweaty but cathartic.
The band has become well known in indie rock circles for bringing new faces on tour, giving them national exposure in the process. Just as Oberst and friends introduced most of the Saddle Creek stable to the Omaha scene, so does Cursive hope to find some love for Illinois emo outfit Planes Mistaken for Stars. The now Denver-based four-piece gained critical attention for their self-titled 1999 debut on Deep Elm records. PMFS will follow opener End Game.
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

LP / CD / MP3