Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


I Am Gemini

Author: Aaron H
02/27/2012 | | | Record Review
Oh, our beloved Cursive—shall we never hear another Ugly Organ from you? No, we shall not, so stop asking for one. For three albums now, Cursive have been bounded to their undeniable masterpiece, The Ugly Organ, and have been expected to reach that plateau with each subsequent release. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't one of those fans, but I can accept that it won't be topped. What Cursive can do is continue to give us something entertaining to listen to—and they have—this time in the form of a musical set in a creaky house and a frenzied mind. I Am Gemini tells the story of twin brothers(one good and one evil) brought together by their parents' last will and testament.

First of all, this is an album you'll enjoy much more when accompanied by the Playbill. This is literally just a musical missing the stage show. Fortunately, the lyric book is in the form of a Playbill with stage directions and all. The story begins with the orphaned main character, Cassius, inheriting a home from the parents he never knew. The band noted that this was a more hammering album like earlier works and you can certainly get a Domestica vibe from it in "This House Alive." While the second track, "Warmer, Warmer," builds on that—the third track, "The Sun and Moon," throws a huge curve ball our way. It's got a new-wave influence to it with awkward vocal melodies. The first time I heard this track. I thought it was the worst song I'd heard from Cursive. While it's still not going to get many listens out of my speakers for the time being, I can appreciate it more knowing the story. The music compliments the scene well where Cassius and his twin, Pollock, have met for the first time and are observing each other in bewilderment.

After the raucous, "Drunken Birds," where our characters have been drinking themselves into an oblivion we soon get to "Double Dead," where Pollock decides to take a passed-out Cassius to a gurney and perform a surgical experiment on his head. This song has more of Kasher's side project, The Good Life, in it than Cursive. It's more upbeat and poppy than the rest of the album. With "Gemini," it begins to become more apparent that Pollock is Cassius' split personality and Cassius is taking on Pollock's personality through a fit of schizophrenia.

"Twin Dragons/Hello Skeleton" could be the soundtrack to Pollock's character—or rather, Gemini, as they're now called. With it's musically set sinister prog-pop tone, Pollock begins to take control and express he's gonna go out and "paint this bloody town black and blue." On Pollock's excursion, he comes across a traveling sideshow carnival in "Wowowow," where he meets Siamese twins, The Sisters Cecil. He comes to the realization that he and Cassius are one in the same and can't have one without the other. "The Cat and Mouse" and "A Birthday Bash" bring us to the climax of the story where Cassius attempts to kill Pollock. "The Cat and Mouse" is a speedy number and easily one of the best tracks on I Am Gemini. "A Birthday Bash" is an escalating rock track that brings us to the point of destruction where Cassius blows up the house to fully purge himself of Pollock. The story ends with Gemini dying in "Eulogy for No Name"—told through Kasher's low registered narration.

I Am Gemini certainly isn't the finest album, but it's a thrilling musical—with each song catered perfectly to each individual scene. Kasher's vocals can be a bit cringe-worthy at times, and it's hard to pick up on Maginn's bass work at times. It may take a few listens, but it's certainly a solid addition to Cursive's catalog. All it really needs is the full production treatment.
I Am Gemini

I Am Gemini

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