Reviews

I Am Gemini

Author: Kenneth Partridge
09/20/2012 | Hartford Courant | www.courant.com | Live Show Preview
In order to be deemed successful, the songs on Cursive's latest album don't need to stand up on their own.

Released last year, "I Am Gemini" is a concept record about formerly conjoined twin brothers — one good, the other evil — battling for supremacy. First and foremost, each of the 13 tracks exists to move the story along.

Nevertheless, singer, songwriter and mastermind Tim Kasher says, certain songs have become live favorites, even as they're mixed in with other tunes from the Nebraska indie-rock group's seven-album discography.

"A longer and weirder song on the album called 'Twin Dragon,' that's one that comes to mind that surprises me and gets a positive reaction," Kasher says by phone, shortly before starting a tour that stops Saturday in Hartford. "I thought it was a pretty strange song that would have been more suited as a deep cut you wouldn't play much."

Its popularity might have something to do with the music. "Gemini" has rightfully attracted attention for its lyrics — the disc even comes with a playbill explaining the plot — but it also stands as a rejoinder to those who say nothing new can be done with guitar, bass and drums.

Cursive has never been a band to repeat itself, and on "Gemini," the songs spike, plummet and turn on dimes, rolling folk, hardcore, progressive rock and various other styles into one exhilarating snarl.

After incorporating cellos, trumpets and other instruments on past releases, Kasher says he and his band mates wanted to go back to the basic instrumentation used in their practice space.

"Instead of leaning on and writing leads for horns or strings, we wrote appropriate, or what we deemed appropriate, leads for guitar," he says. "After six records, it was a fun thing to do. It's not really an approach we had delved into before, for better or worse."

Getting back to the storyline, Kasher admits that the sibling drama represents some of his own inner struggles. By creating characters, he was able to avoid writing overtly about himself—not that the 38-year-old sees his generation's supposed self-absorption as a bad thing.

"I like being able to achieve that kind of writing, and I'm still working on it and trying to better explain myself in writing," he says. "I would suggest people still don't quite have an accurate impression of who I actually am. They build and they create a character. I'm certainly a character in music that is not who I am. Or that's my impression, and it's something I want to improve on."

CURSIVE performs with Minus the Bear and Moving Mountains at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Webster Theater, 31 Webster St., Hartford. Tickets are $19.50 in advance, $22 at the door. Information: 860-525-5553 or http://www.webstertheater.com.
I Am Gemini

I Am Gemini

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