Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


The Ugly Organ

4/8/2003 | VENUS | WWW.VENUSZINE.COM | Album Review
Since the year 2000, guitarist/singer/songwriter Tim Kasker's two bands, Cursive and The Goodlife, have released foue LPs and four EPs. Some of the output, especially Cursive's 2000 Saddle Creek album Domestica, has been thoroughly well written, expertly carried out, and startlingly rythmic guitar rock. But most of the other releases have been equal parts strong songcraft and arrangements. Cursive's latest full lenght, The Ugly Organ, again finds Kasher and company straying from the concise constructions that made Domestica an overlooked gem. The albums best songs build on the band's strong suit of constructing hyper rythmic rockers, like "Some Red Handed Slight of Hand," driven by drummer Clint Schnase's and bassist Matt Maginn's frighteningly precise rythem work and embellished by thundering organ lines and cellist Gretta Cohn's furious string work.
Kasher has never been one to shy away from the formulaic aspect of his lyrical work, and he confronts it again during the opening lines of the horridly titled "Art is Hard": "your self inflicted pain/ is getting to routine/ the crowds are catching on." The song begs the question: Does outing one's songwriting formulas through self-aware lyrics somehow justify continuing to use them? A track like "Butcher the Song" recalls musical motifs and lyrical refrains in earlier, better Kasher reflections and resoundingly answers no. What is most irksome about The Ugly Organ is that Cursive is a talented and tight instrumental outfit that is vastly under utilized because Kasher's lyrics and some of his songwriting have become so overwrought that they are virtually unbearable to listen to. Every fan hopes that bands they like will put out lots of material, but if The Ugly Organ proves anything, it's that it's better to offer up two stellar releases than six uneven ones. A.K. GOLD
The Ugly Organ

The Ugly Organ

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