Cursive Review: I Am Gemini

2/29/12
9.0ARTIST INFO

Goddamn, Cursive fans are nuts. Once the band comes up for discussion, it is either "Accept them as your lord and savior" or "You are a robot." I have dabbled in various songs, enjoyed Ugly Organ thoroughly, and thought their live performance was one of my recent favorites. Since I do not have the band's name carved into my arm (like most diehards I know), I understand the need for that information to understand where I come from on this album.

That being said, it is damn good.

I Am Gemini opens with what an excellent track that could be on the American Horror Story soundtrack, "This House Alive."

"Are you special? Are you spirit? Am I lucid, am I losing it?"

This story sets the stage for the rest of the album: the scrawled ramblings of a mature songwriter, fractured only by prose but never by intellect. The musical intricacy bellows under the fiercely on-target vocals, giving more credence to the ambitious lyrical content. As this was written as a concept album, the risk-taking shows some sturdy trust in each other. Often a song picks a completely different tone than the last, but it is the mood that bundles these twigs together into a branch of rock (See Radiohead or Coheed and Cambria).

"Double Dead" gives a great anthem for the desire to rekindle love's itching sensation.

"Double Dead. The first time was so innocent, the second one is insulate. Double dead. You and me have history, but no future I can see."

"Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton" goes from 0 to Alkaline Trio real quick, but Kesher's neo-"spoken word" approach gives the song its balance. He is often playing various parts of a larger dialogue, which works to an extent before becoming fairly crazy and bi-polar.

The concept behind this album turns out to be about a murderous relationship between twin brothers, named Cassius and Pollock. Regardless of your gut reaction to that last sentence, this is a step forward for the band. Tonally, they have doubled the layers of sound, and while most reviews focus on the strange nature of the story being told, it is the music that deserves all of the attention.

"Wowowow" wins the award for Best Song Title in 2012 and features rare female vocals while telling the sad story of a birthday party gone awry and is pure genius. Strangely enough, there is also a song called "Birthday Bash" right before the closer.

"A birthday boy in the month of June. We light his cake, his wish came true. Spatter blood all over the floor; Gemini what have you done? What horrible we've become. Oh ho ho….WOWOWOW!!!"

After reviewing the last Islands album and dealing with a single-style project out of a diverse musical skillset, Cursive presents in I Am Gemini what that band usually does: A dozen albums written with almost a dozen separate genre/style/trappings. The band writes music before lyrics, and when you drop the lyrics out and listen to them Explosions in the Sky-style, the album shines just bright, but in a more controlled chaos. It would be sad to think that fans would shun this band for such ambition, especially with their ability to craft such sweet sonics.

Listen to the full album stream

 

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