Cursive The Ugly Organ

[Saddle Creek; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: indie rock, post-punk
Others: Burning Airlines, Fugazi, The Good Life

Just when I thought Tim Kasher had gone soft on us, The Ugly Organ-- Cursive's fourth LP-- reminds me that any assumptions of a looming weariness derives not from previous Cursive releases, but from Kasher's sub par side project, The Good Life. Simply put: The Ugly Organ rocks with the best of 'em. As evident throughout the album, Kasher is still exorcising the demons from his divorce that compelled him to write Domestica in 2000, one of the most emotionally-draining albums released within the last few years. Exemplified in tracks such as "Buther the Song" and "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale," Kasher & Kompany impose heart-wrenching sentiments in one jagged little pill after another (a "Morissette," one might say). Similar to Domestica, The Ugly Organ plays as one continuous album, replete with interesting interludes and searing segues. The transition from "Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand" to "Art Is Hard" is so affective that it'd be impossible to experience it without dropping your jaw a couple inches. But with all of its doom & gloom operatives, the album finishes with a somewhat optimistic and, uncharacteristically, lengthy track, "Staying Alive," ending another angst-ridden fairy tale of loss and indignation. A lot was at stake with The Ugly Organ; truthfully, I didn't think Cursive could deliver a worthy follow-up to the jam-packt Domestica. After hearing Domestica and The Ugly Organ, I can only hope for the following: (1) Kasher will never get over his divorce, and (2) Kasher will keep reserving his mediocre ideas for The Good Life. Call me an asshole. Call me selfish. But you know you were thinking the exact same thing, you selfish asshole.

1. The Ugly Organist
2. Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand
3. Art Is Hard
4. The Reclusive
5. Herald! Frankenstein
6. Butcher the Song
7. Driftwood: A Fairy Tale
8. A Gentleman Caller
9. Harold Weathervein
10. Bloody Murderer
11. Sierra
12. Staying Alive

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