The Ugly Organ
Saddle Creek Records

Cursive, the now five piece post-punk/emo/whatever band from Omaha, NE, have a reputation for stretching the bounds of melodic hardcore lyrically, vocally, and musically. The Ugly Organ, their latest release, pushes the envelope even further, creating a beautiful combination of concept, idea, and sound. They have created an unique orchestration of melody, harmony, and noise.

In other words, this album is fucking incredible.

There is no purer way to say it. Musically, the album flows coherently and intelligently from beginning to end, running the gauntlet from hardcore to quiet, melodic rock, and culminating in an epic complete with self-referential choral harmonies and a plethorea of melodic dissonance. Dynamic guitar and bass rhythms flow effortlessly through hardcore, pop-rock, jazzy, and even swing beats, all accentuated by occasional organs and constantly enveloping, sometimes drivingly chaotic, sometimes softly lilting, cello. Lyrically, the album surpasses all of the bands previous efforts as well. Kasher, a songwriter already acclaimed for his ability to analyze his personal life with brutal honesty, has now perfected the art of analyzing his own analysis. With numerous references to not only Cursive's previous albums but also The Ugly Organ itself, the listener is left with a complete image of the hypocritical side of the style of music Kasher himself helped pioneer (the art of acting weak/fall in love to fail/to boost your cd sales).

So big words aside, what does all of this add up to? The most accessible yet uncompromising record Cursive has ever released, and the best album to date from a little place called Omaha.

-Todd Berry