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The Ugly Organ

Cursive

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Album Review

Whereas 2000's Domestica explored the intense pain of Tim Kasher's divorce, The Ugly Organ is a tale of empty sex, overwrought melodrama, and metaphors of which the album's title is only the first. Kasher likes making you feel queasy, and Cursive backs him up with unpredictable instrumental turns. "Butcher the Song" could be about a lot of things, but it's definitely not happy, and its instrumentation lurches in stops and rushing starts like a drivetrain gone bad. "Art Is Hard" is much louder. "Keep turning out those hits! Till it's all the same old sh*t!" The clattering guitars shoot backward at Cursive's louder roots, but the knifing lyrics stab wildly at fans, the band, the industry — any target available. Kasher and company are similarly restless throughout The Ugly Organ, and that sentiment makes the album both rewarding and frustrating. They're capable of great beauty, particularly in the sure hand of cellist Gretta Cohn, who first appeared on the Burst and Bloom EP but is a true force here. She adds a soaring melody to "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale," making it sound like Spoon with a fuller lineup.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

As early as 1995, the original members of Cursive — Tim Kasher on guitar and vocals, Clint Schnase on drums, Matt Maginn on bass, and Stephen Pederson on guitar — began work on their newly christened project, experimenting with elements of indie rock and eclectic post-hardcore to fashion a unique sound. The Omaha, Nebraska-based four-piece came out of existing friendships and some of the members' previous work together in Slowdown Virginia, making the musical partnership a logical idea...
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The Ugly Organ, Cursive
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