Cursive - The Ugly Organ (Cover Artwork)


Cursive: The Ugly OrganThe Ugly Organ (2003)
Saddle Creek Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: ExodusThe Orange Merchant
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I will admit this before I even start my reviewing of this record: I am not a big Cursive fan or expert, although before I heard this, I had listened to a few songs off of "Burst And Bloom" and "Such Blinding Stars". This album begins with an introductory song titled "The Ugly Organist". It'.
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I will admit this before I even start my reviewing of this record: I am not a big Cursive fan or expert, although before I heard this, I had listened to a few songs off of "Burst And Bloom" and "Such Blinding Stars".

This album begins with an introductory song titled "The Ugly Organist". It's a useless intro I feel, only the sound of an organ playing and chatter (with possibly a scream or two) in the background. It's only 53 seconds and fails to contribute any asset to the album.. "Some Red Handed Slight Of Red" officially kicks off the record with a nice, mid-paced rock beginning. When Tim Kasher begins to sing in that unique fashion of his, the pace quickens ??till the end. This is a good song, but at under 2 minutes, is disappointingly short. The song fades into "Art Is Hard", which I'm sure all the diehard Cursive fans have enjoyed already. A bit more melodic but less aggressive, it is still in the same vein and quality as the opener. Up next is "The Recluse", a cute mid-paced number that is the mellowest song so far. The percussions on this song are interesting, but the rather high-pitched chorus fails to grab my attention. Following this, it's time for another short instrumental number "Herald! Frankenstein", which just sounds to me like a bunch of cello, static and weird vocals (hence, filler). "Butcher The Song" ensues, and is a slow but explosive song. There is a nice screaming part at the end, and the abrupt finish followed by the organ and voice clip adds a cool touch. "Driftwood" is a mellow song that fails to deliver. However, I must say that track 8, "A Gentleman Caller", is a great, chaotic tune with Kasher unleashing out insane vocal work (probably my favorite song off this album). The song becomes much more melodic at the end, but succeeds in staying fresh and interesting. What to say about "Harold Wheathervein?" Well, good for the most part, although the odd 1-minute filler finish really spoils the song. It reminds me of the music they play on "Hockey Night In Canada". You'll have to hear it yourself to see why I'm making that comparison. An uncomfortable mess of chords start off "Bloody Murderer", but it gets better when the pounding guitars and drums roll in. The song is about a ghost; the sad violin and sudden breaking of glass before the chorus definitely makes me picture a murder in process (Colonel Mustard in the ballroom with the chandelier?). Up next is "Sierra", a vivacious and upbeat song that, not unlike most of the material here, doesn't arouse my curiosity. By the time the song fades, I'm actually a little glad that I'm down to the closer, "Staying Alive". Oh boy. Well, what else can I say but total disappointment? If Cursive had compressed the song (a lot) instead of trying to turn it into an epic, perhaps I wouldn't of stopped the record after Kasher stops singing (alas, four minutes of uninspired instrumental boredom ensues- the only bands that can truly hold my interest for that kind of stuff are Modest Mouse and Built To Spill). We're talking about a 10 minute song here! On a 38 minute CD! That seems a little bit overwhelming to me....

In general, "The Ugly Organist" grabbed my attention for the first 2 or 3 songs, but I was indifferent to almost every track afterwards, in exception to the standout "A Gentleman Caller". I'm sure that these guys are tight musically and creatively, but this album did not get to me. I didn't actually hate any of the 10 songs aside from "Staying Alive"and the 2 useless under-a-minute segments (I don't consider them tracks), but I felt they were under par compared to songs like "Drop The Beat" and " Ceilings Crack". If I had to describe this record in a few words, I'd say "slightly above average".


People who liked this also liked:
At The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home AboutCursive - DomesticaThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Refused - The Shape of Punk to ComeWeezer - PinkertonThursday - Full CollapseAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireOperation Ivy - Operation Ivy

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
thegreatestmanalive (July 6, 2007)

It really felt that the reveiwer was trying to be as dissapointed by this album as possible, especially in the beggining of the review. I have to agree that the last song drags on a bit, good album though

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

You didn't even get the fucking album title right in the last paragraph. This score for the review.

Anonymous (October 14, 2003)

There's no right answer, just opinion.
I like this album alot. The whole thing is held together beautifully, by the themes in the lyrics and also the instrumental pieces. The strings are also used to amazing effect with both melodic and discordant harmonies.

I love it.


Anonymous (March 18, 2003)

amazing piece'o'work. will this band ever disappoint? knock knock.

Anonymous (March 17, 2003)

Yeah, but it doesn't always make for good reviews. Let's say I really liked pop punk, but hated hardcore or didn't listen to it, how do you think my review of a hardcore record would sound? I don't think it could be fairly judged on it's merits, because the reviewer simply may not like that style. Now, I'm not saying this reviewer didn't like this style, but Cursive isn't like most of what's out there, so reviewing this without any exposure to this style can give it an unfair bias. It's not like everyone on punknews.org are all rock and roll veterans(ie listens to all sorts of music) and can understand Cursive in the big picture of punk/indie/hardcore/emo/rock/whatever all the time.

The_Killings (March 17, 2003)

Nad just for the record, I enjoyed this album. It reminds me a lot of modest mouse.

The_Killings (March 17, 2003)

But I don't really think reviews are meant for superfans. A lot of people that are gonna hear this album (myself included) have never heard cursive before. I don't really care about the saddle creek thing. I'm judging this album on it's own merits. I don't know or care if "Domestica" was the greatest album ever, I don't have domestica.

I kind of like it when a reviewer doesn't have a degree in the history of the band they're reviewing. It allows the album to be judged as an album, not as the follow up to the last album they did.

Or something.

Anonymous (March 16, 2003)

Well I think you need to have some background on a band aside from listening to a just a few tracks. Especially with a band like Cursive where Domestica could be considered one of the best albums ever. If you have no idea where these guys are coming from, how can you know where they've arrived?

Anonymous (March 16, 2003)

No I think all the live videos on this CD are great. I'd pay the ten dollars just to have those.

Anonymous (March 15, 2003)

does anyone think the live video of The Matyr is awful on this CD?

FortyMinutesWest (March 15, 2003)

*If Looks Could

FortyMinutesWest (March 15, 2003)

I Looks Could Kill I'd Watch You Die by Death by Stereo has the best intro ever.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

What, exactly, is a useful intro in your mind? It's not like mindblowing, but it does serve its purpose. I could see you saying you didn't like it or whatever, but useless?

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

I like this a lot. I really like the Cello on this, it adds a feeling of chaos on some of the songs. It reminds me a the theme from Psycho for some reason. After a few listens this is just as good as anything they've done in the past. I don't think it surpasses it though.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

amazing album.

the song i believe you are trying to compare this to is SINK TO THE BEAT, not drop the beat.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

its a matter of which end of cursive you like. I really cant say i like anything pre-domestica that they did, and ive progressively liked more everything since domestica, so to me this album is the culmination of that. The primary lukewarm reviews seem to be by people who didn't dig the last two EPs, so to each there own.


Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

"get over it kids, the reviewer is right.... "

well, that settles it...if he says he's right than it must be true...

I think this is one of the best albums to have come out in YEARS...

FortyMinutesWest (March 14, 2003)

I see where you're coming from, I guess it just really depends on your vantage point. I liked this review because it was to the point, but since I too don't know all that much about Cursive's history I could be missing some problems with it.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

I dunno forty, I agree and disagree here. Of course no one has to be part of the "saddle creek scene" to do a review of one of thier records, but unless he has more of an open mind about music and understanding of what a band is trying to go for, it just doesn't seem quality to me. It's really not that bad of a review though, it's just kind of missing the point is the scope of things at times.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

I think every full song on this album is spectacular. Couldn't even pick a favorite. But the album as a whole has me skipping around a lot. I understand that it is supposed to be kind of like a musical (stage directions in lyrics) but it doesn't have the consistency to pull that excuse off. Songs are about random subjects and there is no real recurring theme through the Whole album. The first half does ok (music industry, song-writing), but the second half is all over. Nonetheless, as a normal, 10 track album, this is awesome, but it isn't as revolutionary as I think it was hoping to be.

FortyMinutesWest (March 14, 2003)

I disagree with that. Just because this guy isn't in the "Saddle Creek scene" doesn't mean his review is any less relevant. I like this better than the other review because he actually just talks about this cd instead of coming off like a pretentious jackass.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

The reason this review sucks is because it's sounds like a Nu-metal fan reviewing a hardcore record. He doesn't seem to "get it" or what the band was going for sometimes.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

yea, it's cool to have your own opinion
i just feel that you're about 90% wrong
nothing personal

TheAxeMan (March 14, 2003)

oh please you guys are doin the same thing you preach against on the AFI review, jumpin cuz the person has a different opinion than you

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

why is this review shit?

I've been a fan of Cursive since most of you were in short pants and I can honestly say this reviewer hit the nail on the head with this review....

nothing exciting is happening on this disc...I love Tim's music to death, but this album dissapointed me in every way conceivable....

maybe I was spoiled by how good the last Good Life album was, but this album doesn't do it for me...I love the addition of the cello, but it doesn't make up for the fact this is subpar...get over it kids, the reviewer is right....

and he's also right about the Modest Mouse and Built To Spill comment at the end....I could listen to Built To Spills long drawn out instrumental parts all day...Doug Martsch is a genius...yup



travis (March 14, 2003)

Thats a decent review. While I disagree with most everything you said about the songs, at least you had some reasons for not liking them

sloppyblake (March 14, 2003)

amazing album. reviewer has an opinion. deal with it.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

post my review already. Sierra is fucking gwartastic, and the whole album is like a nice steak after a peta rally.

Calling a cursive song, especially "the recluse", cute is just bad form. Its not even a matter of opinion, its apples to dildos, it just makes no sense.


soulbleed (March 14, 2003)

those who do not know anything about the artist should not be reviewing their album(s). this review is utter shit and should not be taken seriously at all - it's obvious this guy doesn't understand the saddle creek signature, or where this band is coming from at all .. at least when i did my shitty movielife review, i knew who the band was and have all of their cds in my possession, but this is just unacceptable.

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

yo dude, listen to more saddle creek records, you'll see that they're full of weird intros. They have special meaning to the writer, and they don't give a fuck if you appreciate it or not.

maverick (March 14, 2003)

To the guy below me:
I agree wholeheartedly.

That being said, this album is amazing. I just like to always run two opposing opinions on an album, if for nothing else but good conversation about said album.


The_Killings (March 14, 2003)

So when did it become a rule that a reviewer has to listen to the band's other albums to review the new one?

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

ok, so you missed Domestica entirely?

well that sucks for you, once I read that I figured my opinion on the album is gonna be better than yours.

You guys dont have to accept every review sent in do you?????

Anonymous (March 14, 2003)

Doesn't anybody read these reviews before they get posted? Quality control, where are you?

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