Cursive | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

If foxy young Weezer fans are going to keep whining about the psychic cost of casual sex, the least we eavesdropping elders should demand is plenty of chewy melodrama and big guitars. On Cursive's fourth full-length, The Ugly Organ (Saddle Creek), front man Tim Kasher skimps on neither. Writing with a blogger's mix of exhibitionism and solipsism, Kasher parlayed his failed marriage into a concept album, Domestica, in 2000; he allays any suspicions that the experience resolved the issue with Organ's opening lines: "And now, we proudly present / Songs perverse and songs of lament / A couple of hymns of confession / And songs that recognize our sick obsessions." But instead of examining the mechanics of a specific failed relationship, here he carries remorse to its lurid extreme, wallowing in generalities about guilt and sin and ghosts that creep into bed with you--he literally screams "bloody murder!" at one point. Like his labelmate Conor Oberst, Kasher's inherited from Robert Smith a ghastly unwillingness to let vowels die a natural death, which combines with the band's unexpected shifts in dynamics and Gretta Cohn's cello to generate the creepy energy of a Lifetime original movie about a housewife's secret life as a prostitute. Ten years from now I imagine the kids at Saddle Creek will look back from their various community-college posts and wonder why they didn't have more fun as the kings of indie rock. But I guess I can see why they might think bellowing about one's neopuritan hang-ups is the only reasonable alternative to the no-strings commercial hedonism of E! and Maxim. This all-ages show is sold-out; Blood Brothers, Eastern Youth, and Murder by Death are also on the bill. Friday, September 12, 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

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