Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Ugly Organ

Author: Mike Petersen
12/10/2003 | | | Album Review
After putting out a couple of great releases on Saddle Creek, Cursive delivers us with another amazing album, The Ugly Organ. This album is a great follow-up to Domestica. The critically acclaimed Domestica pushed cursive into the hearts of many, and with their newest release, they will be there to stay. Having perfected an artsy emo sound, combining drums, guitar, vocals and even a cello, Cursive brings a sound unlike any other band. They do take some getting used to though, being that they are so different; it took me a good couple listens to really be able to appreciate the album. Creativity isn't lacking either, whereas Domestica had a theme, so does The Ugly Organ.

The themes of the album make it great. As a post divorce album, the Ugly Organ brings together themes including, the perverseness of an ugly organ, mockery of his own lyrics, and wanting to actually settle down and have his child that he lost due to divorce. Depth is not a problem anywhere in the album; every lyric is equally deep and meaningful. An addition of an organ adds a more melancholy sound throughout the album, making it even more depressing. The lyrics are heartbreakingly true, even when they mock themselves for writing about their pain. Trying to understand this whole album is like trying to understand an epic poem, the amount of symbols and levels of meaning just blow me away. As well as the creative lyrics, there are tons of random sounds throughout the album, including sleigh bells during a song about being with women he barely knows, to singing ghosts.

This CD starts out with "The Ugly Organist", an intro of an organ and other various noises in the background such as children playing. Kicking off right out of the intro is "Some Red Handed Slight of Hand", which is another intro in a way, announcing what this album is to them. The album is another way of putting themselves up for people to judge, and they basically are crucifying themselves and their feelings for the all mighty dollar. "Art is Hard" is a complete mockery of everything they are doing, as well as just about every other band that is out there. It says that everything written is fake, or self inflicted pain, and how every band out there is basically putting out "the same old shit". My personal favorite from the CD, "The Recluse", is next up on the album. "The Recluse" is about how he is sleeping with women he doesn't really know, and he doesn't know he even ended up there; it's a song of remorse and denial. "Herald! Frankenstein" is a short song, it states "Now I can't stop the monster I've created"; it seems its just there to serve the purpose of the album, I think he is referring to himself as the monster. Next up is "Butcher the Song", which is a conversation back and forth between a guy and his girlfriend. Apparently the relationship is in shambles, It seems it is about his last woman. The song is another example of how he mocks himself in his own song, with lyrics such as "So rub it inů in your dumb lyrics." "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale" is another favorite of mine on the album, it brings a Pinocchio vibe. The whole song is about how he , and other men, seem to just be "driftwood" in a sense. It's all about how guys say they are in love, and the girl never believes, and when he finally is getting close to convincing, he tires of her and leaves just to drift into the ocean, away from her. Next up is "A Gentleman Caller", a good song with good lyrics, but I really don't like the setup of the song musically. It's really choppy(not unlike most cursive songs), and has a really arrogant sound to it, although it has a very good ending where it slows down. "Harold Weathervein" comes up next, with a great intro, of cello and bass drum. It is a very good song, but I feel it is overshadowed by the next track two tracks on the CD, "Bloody Murderer" and "Sierra". "Bloody Murderer" is yet another amazing track on the CD, it is all about the end of the relationship I believe, and how he looks back at it and feels. His wife wants to get away, and he portrays her as a "ghost" staying against her will. Although she is there "against her will", the song never really shows him retaining her there, or even beckoning her to stay. It comes to a beautiful ending though, ironic as it sounds, the singing of "Bloody Murder" with "oh oh oh" in the background is beautiful. "Sierra" is the most touching song on the whole CD. The song brings you into the deepest part of his life, it shows his remorse and readiness to have his child, which he can't even kiss goodnight. "Sierra, Sierra, Sierra, Sierra" he cries out in the song, it's enough to bring someone to tears. The lyrics of this song cannot go unmentioned, the most heart touching stanza of the album, to me, is this: "I'm ready to settle down now, so get that man out of my bed. I want my daughter back now, I want to kiss her, tuck her in and say , "Goodnight, my baby girl, Sierra"". Of course you cannot finish off an album without a glimmer of hope that he can go on, and that is where "Staying Alive" comes in. An ending that also gives everyone else a glimmer of hope, if someone can go on without their child, and still hope that one day they will have them, then why can't we all? "Staying Alive" brings to a close an album that isn't just about superficial things you find in most "Punk" bands nowadays, it's an album about life and pain, but also happiness and the ability to mock your own pain, just to go on. "The Worst Is Over"

The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

LP / CD / MP3


All »



Gemini Dragon


I Am Gemini