The Ugly Organ (180 Gram Double Deluxe Remastered Edition)
Saddle Creek 185
Released on November 25, 2014
• Remastered Deluxe package limited to 3000 2LP and 3000 2CD .
• 180g vinyl includes MP3 download of entire album.
• Extensive booklet with photos from the band’s archives, alternate album art
sketches, a list of all t our dates from the era, show posters, and new liner
notes written by The A.V. Club’s Kyle Ryan.
• 8 bonus tracks from the era, including 4 tracks from the 8 Teeth to Eat You
Split EP previously unreleased on vinyl.
The Ugly Organ made landfall on March 4, 2003, the same day as Evanescence’s Fallen and roughly two weeks
before the start of the Iraq War. The darkest days of the Bush Era were settling in like a dense fog over the
entire country, and the outlook was bleak. That made The Ugly Organ especially potent, its gloomy inward
focus a natural reection of the era. The press accolades came quickly, from the mainstream (Rolling Stone
called it “a brilliant leap forward,” and Entertainment Weekly said it “raised the Saddle Creek bar”) to the niche
(The A.V. Club called it “a potent piece of rock art,” Alternative Press gave it a perfect score).
With The Ugly Organ, Cursive made a landmark album for itself and Saddle Creek. It was the label’s 51st release
and the second in what my colleague Marc Hawthorne called “Saddle Creek’s holy trinity” in his liner notes for
The Faint’s Danse Macabre reissue: Danse Macabre, The Ugly Organ, and Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s
Morning. (I’d argue more for LIFTED or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground on that count, but I’ll
save that for the next time I see Marc.)
Just prior to The Ugly Organ, Saddle Creek had released the celebratory compilation Saddle Creek 50, which
included Cursive’s gleefully self-referential “Nonsense” (“I really don’t want to write another ‘I’m a dick’ song
again”), which is included on this reissue. The label’s 49th release had been another Cursive joint, the “Art is
Hard” single, which featured the explosive six-minute B-side “Sinner’s Serenade,” also included here. Rounding
it out are four songs from Cursive’s split EP with Eastern Youth, 8 Teeth to Eat You—check out the ferocious
playing by cellist Gretta Cohn on “Excerpts from Various Notes Strewn Around the Bedroom of April Connolly,
Feb 24, 1997”—and two songs from the single for “The Recluse.” It’s an exhaustive—and exhausting—snapshot
of a band realizing its power and wielding it for maximum impact.
And then Cursive was gone. Again. Taking another of its intermittent hiatuses. An unease has accompanied
every album after The Ugly Organ that it could be the last one—no, for real this time. Maybe because The Ugly
Organ capped an unprecedented productive streak, ending a three-record, three-year run with an album that
can’t help but reect the eort that went into it. The exhaustion, the ambivalence, the doubt, it all bleeds out
of those 12 tracks. At the end of “Staying Alive,” the “ghost chorus” referenced in the liner notes sings, “The
worst is over, Doo do Doo do Doo do Doo doo.” On second thought, maybe it’s neither hope nor resignation,
but simple relief. The storm has passed. And it was a motherfucker.
–Kyle Ryan, The A.V. Club