Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Ugly Organ

04/08/2003 | Under the Radar | | Album Review
Recently a friend was attempting to convince me of his theory that an artist should have some sort of prophetic insight over their creations. Knowing if what they're making at that moment will pale in comparison to their future work. And if it doesn't match up, then they shouldn't release that material. And if they do, they then lose all right to regret it in the future, since it's only out, their due to their own lack of foresight. Well, since the process of creating (from writing songs to books to carving a sculpture and so on) is an evolutionary process of honoring one's talents, you can't know what you're capable of except at that very moment in time. But you can see, in retrospect, the glaring errors in what you thought was immaculate before.
Now, if were Tim Kasher (Cursive's lead singer/guitarists/songwriter), I'd be smacking myself silly forever allowing myself to compose music without a cello in sight. But a) I'm not him and b) the combination of cello and Cursive's emotively loud rock is such a surprisingly successful mix I doubt even he had any dreams of making the musical union until the opportunity presented itself.
The production value along with the complexity of songwriting on The Ugly Organ is high, as this is no simple routine of guitars-bass-vocals (er, and cello). "Harold Weathervain" opens with carefully regulated breathing that lasts throughout the song, even through a memorably angular guitar line, which repetitively ascends to nowhere. It's as if it is heading the wrong way on an escalator, never quite reaching anywhere but an endlessly sustained anguish. "Art Is Hard" awakiens Kasher's inner Robert Smith, the song the Cure's oft-chosen ironically upbeat rhythms. Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst can be heard in the choir for the albums finale, "Staying Alive," which recalls Moby's "My Weekness."
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

LP / CD / MP3


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