Reviews

I Am Gemini

Author: Casey Holder
02/15/2012 | Shorthorn | www.theshorthorn.com | Live Show Preview
Saddle-Creek veterans Cursive will release its seventh album Tuesday. An utterly intellectual listen, I am Gemini, is crafted into a rigid concept album. It is written as a play about two brothers representing the duality of man.

Get it? Gemini.

The album is musically very tight, but in classic Cursive style, not easily cornered into a genre. Gemini explores many different moods and sounds, often in one track. The band will utilizes pop-like rhythms in some songs, very light cello and piano in others and also includes heavier more punctuated snare-driven punk sounds. It covers a wide gamut of popular music, almost like a score for a movie or musical.

The band's fans will find the album a vast departure from the raw and independent sound of early albums, like the 2000 release, Domestica. Instead, the album is more in line with frontman Tim Kasher's recent solo work, The Game of Monogamy. It has more of a studio finish with pop-inspired arrangements.

The album tells us the story of Cassius a fictitious character and his very surreal and tangible battle with himself, manifested as his twin Pollock. The whole thing gets to be very "Tyler Durden." One can't help but think of Fight Club.

We find our hero Cassius, a reformed criminal, in the home of his estranged late parents.

As he walks through the house, he can hear his past demons coming back to haunt him, literally. Upon reaching the attic, Cassius finds his twin brother Pollock. An epic struggle between the two ensues leading ultimately to the destruction of the home. The final scene of the play, the album's lyrics are actually divided into a two-act play including stage direction, finds Cassius as an old and defeated man on his deathbed.

"Narrator: A lifetime of brawling with demons. Makes a fallen man. Even on his deathbed he's beaten, Pinned by his fiendish inner twin. Such turmoil in your head, Will it never let you rest?"

I am Gemini
Artist: Cursive
Genre: All over the place
Label: Saddle Creek
Release Date: Tuesday
Rating: Four out of five stars

See them live: April 15 at Trees in Dallas

The band first sequenced the music for the album without a lyrical concept. Kasher then came in and interwove the story in a sequential manner from song one to song "13," a first in his career. It plays that way. This is not an album to plop in one's car stereo to play as background as fighting through traffic on Interstate 30. You will miss all of the subtle details Kasher has painstakingly written into this elaborate tale. This album deserves a sit down complimented with a glass of wine.

In "Lullaby for No Name," evil doppelganger Pollock laments how easy it was to tempt his brother Cassius into an alcohol fueled relapse, comparing it to the tale of Sisyphus being taken out by his boulder. The song touches on the story of the king in Greek mythology who was condemned to rolling a boulder up a hill, all for it to roll back down so he could repeat the process into eternity.

"Pollock: Out cold, run over by the boulder of Sisyphus. Doesn't it seem to get a bit repetitive? Over and over and over again. You get clean, climbing up that hill was an impressive feat. To think of all the demons you had to jockey. Just to see that boulder bounding!"

Cursive has grown and matured with its fans. Gone are the angst-filled "emo"-tional screams of its 2001 release, Burst and Bloom, and along with those went the scathing blasphemous lyrics of the 2006 release, Happy Hollow, and gimmicky cello solos of the 2003 release of The Ugly Organ. Those albums were the band's best. What is left is what made those albums so great, the strong narrative song writing, the dynamic sound and the incredible performance. The casual surface listener may not enjoy this album, but that never stopped Pink Floyd from writing The Wall.
I Am Gemini

I Am Gemini

LP / CD / MP3