Cursive - The Ugly Organ (Cover Artwork)


The Ugly Organ (2003)

Saddle Creek

The Wezzul

Straight from the musical powerhouse that is Omaha comes Cursive's 4th full length album, entitled The Ugly Organ. Their last album, Domestica was received very well by both long-time Cursive fans as well as newcomers to the band's music, and it would be a hard album to follow up. However, this album not only matches the intensity and talent displayed on Domestica, it surpasses it. Right from the beginning of this album, you will notice a big change from Domestica. The addition of Gretta Cohn (for the Burst and Bloom EP) on cello was one of the best things the band could do. The instrument is ever present on this album, adding to the musical landscape that the rest of the talented members of the band create. It is most noticable on songs The Recluse, and Driftwood. Both of these tracks display the ability of Mike Mogis to arrange these tracks, as well as Ms. Cohn's ability to play her instrument. It is a welcome addition as it serves to add another dimension to an already complex sound.

The other thing Cursive fans will notice is the presence of a somewhat "softer" sound at points in the album. On songs such as Sierra, and A Gentleman Caller there are breakdowns featuring a much quieter, non-screaming Tim Kasher. The sound almost sounds like a mix between earlier Cursive releases and The Good Life (Kasher's side project).

As is expected from anything Kasher does, the lyrics are the standout on this album. On the song Art is Hard, Kasher speaks about his (or could it be Conor Oberst's) lyrical stylings, singing: Cut it out / Your self-inflicted pain / Is getting too routine / The crowds are catching on / To the self-afflicted song / Well here we go again / The art of acting weak / Flying up to fail / To boost your CD sales

There are also wonderful lyrics on the aformentioned Sierra, describing longing for a woman who he once shared an apartment, and child with: And an extra kiss for mama / I want that kiss, that kid, that apartment / 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 All of the tracks on this album are good, I have yet to find one that I did not enjoy. It is truly an album you can listen to from start to beginning. However, there are a few standout tracks. Art is Hard, The Recluse, Driftwood, Sierra, and the ten minute epic Staying Alive are all wonderful tracks that surely earn replay value.

Saddle Creek continues to pump out amazing music, and this album is no exception. If all albums for 2003 are to be as good as this one, we are in for a great year. If you're a Cursive fan you will love this album. If you've never listened to Cursive, this is a great album to start with. Pick it up, you will not be disappointed.