By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Over the course of the record, Cursive is at times pretty and poppy ("The Recluse," "Driftwood: A Fairy Tale"), and at others angular and jagged ("Butcher the Song," "A Gentleman Caller," "Bloody Murderer"), but almost always dramatic. "Butcher the Song" ends with Kasher jubilantly deciding that the ugly organ must be severed to compensate for its sins; whether that means balls or heart, the sentiment weighs heavy.
The Ugly Organ closes with the 10-minute opus "Staying Alive," in which a spent Kasher decides that despite the darkness and pain of life, he'll choose not to end it. It closes with a chorus of "ghosts"--actually a collection of Omaha musicians, Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and the Faint's Clark and Todd Baechle, among them--singing, "The worst is over."
"I'm just...really hard on myself," Kasher says. "I think it's that whole, if I'm really hard on myself, I tend to be really hard on whoever it is I'm closest to. I truly feel remorse for that; I think that it's unfair.
"I guess I'm still a firm believer in our animal instincts, which is wanting to mate and procreate," he says later.
Sharing all these demons through his music seemed appropriate to Kasher. Now that he's playing the songs for audiences, though, the exhibitionism is slightly unsettling. "Some of it is subject matter I'm still not very comfortable with, I guess. But that's what I'm under the impression artists are supposed to do, that the closest you get to the universal, which is what any writer is trying to achieve, is by writing what's closest to you, because what's closest to you is probably what's closest to everyone else because we all go through similar life experiences."
Despite The Ugly Organ and its overt messages to the contrary, Kasher is neither unhappy nor frustrated. "I actually think this is the best thing I have going for me," he says contentedly. "It's really what's keeping me the happiest. I'm getting a lot of fulfillment out of the writing process, and I guess that's just not always the case, so it's been a really great way for me to stave off depression."