Cursive - I Am Gemini (Cover Artwork)


Cursive: I Am GeminiI Am Gemini (2012)
Saddle Creek Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It should come as no surprise that the latest Cursive release, I Am Gemini, is a concept album. That's pretty much the indie rock band's M.O. What is surprising, though, is just how deep that concept runs. Compared to Cursive's last record, Mama, I'm Swollen, everything feels more, and better, thoug.
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It should come as no surprise that the latest Cursive release, I Am Gemini, is a concept album. That's pretty much the indie rock band's M.O. What is surprising, though, is just how deep that concept runs. Compared to Cursive's last record, Mama, I'm Swollen, everything feels more, and better, thought out. In hindsight, Mama feels like a dry run for Gemini. It brought back the aggressive, guitar-based assault Cursive left behind on the horn-driven Happy Hollow, just as Gemini does. As a concept, though, Mama felt thin; it's basically a bunch of songs about frontman Tim Kasher's dick (look at the title!).

I Am Gemini, by comparison, comes bundled with a playbill, outlining a two-act musical about battling twin brothers, separated at birth, who represent the duality of man. It is unquestionably a rock opera. It tells the story of Cassius and Pollock and their many troubles. It has a beginning, middle and end. Actually, once I read the stage directions, I was surprised how well the songs fold into Kasher's story, especially since it's fairly easy to separate them from their high concept. Aside from Kasher's insistence on returning to the twins theme (take a shot every time he says "Gemini") and maybe the lucid "Lullaby for No Name," an instrumental meant to convey Cassius passing out that kills the flow a little, one could easily play through the whole record without worrying too much about the story. It helps, but it isn't completely necessary to appreciate I Am Gemini.

After all, Kasher and co. do a good job balancing tunefulness and story. The songs never get too ranty or beholden to exposition. Rather, they cover some pretty relatable territory: morality, boozing, getting older. Closing number "Eulogy for No Name" is a solid twist in the story, but it's also a great tune about shitty upbringings. Kasher can get a little wordy at times on the verses, but he still hits a strong chorus with "They gave you no name."

In fact, for all the rock opera pretensions, I Am Gemini offers a surprising amount of "hits." "The Sun and Moon" might be one of Cursive's poppiest songs to date. "Drunken Birds" is a great drinking song. "Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton" packs a mighty fine angular guitar riff that's so, so danceable. While the record falls off a little three-quarters of the way through, it finishes strong with "A Birthday Bash" and "Eulogy for No Name." It's easy to laugh off rock operas as self-indulgent, but Cursive lends the genre credence with I Am Gemini.


People who liked this also liked:
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
media (June 19, 2012)

Happy Hollow is great. Every fan I meet never enjoys it as much as I do, but I feel like there's something awesome about that album lurking in the rising drums when Tim starts screaming "into the fold" and then the song jizzes into this melodic as it is twisted play-by-play of whatever you interpret out of that girls eventual emotional trauma. That snarky attitude turned desperate plea of Big Bang (along with the dirty Mos Eisley sound Cursive took with their instrumentation after Gretta's "phasing out" post hiatus, orchestrated by Kasher himself in a sit down with her in NY I believe) and the heavy but even pace of Dorothy Dreams of Tornadoes...come on there is A LOT of good material on Happy Hollow both musically and lyrically and it needs to appreciated more!!

superskabro (March 11, 2012)

surprisingly good album. As far as post-"Organ" Cursive goes, I thought "Hollows" was pretty spotty which made me nervous about "Mama" but "Mama" turned out to be much better than I thought. "Gemini" is solid too. Very different than "Mama" but still good. Definitely heavier than the last few records. Considering how long Kasher has been doing this, it's impressive that he's kept his music as vital as he has.

The artwork, however, is mind-blowingly terrible. It looks like the artwork I see for shitty local jam bands.

iconoclast (February 27, 2012)

burst and bloom was the only really, really good batch of songs, start to finish, this band has released.

jeffrocentric (February 26, 2012)

should i listen to this? i like this band, but.....


TheMike (February 25, 2012)

Mama's concept was a fair bit deeper than that, but good review nonetheless. I still need to hear this album. Reading some very polarized reactions to it.

EchosMyron (February 24, 2012)

Can everyone change their rating to half a star? I want to see how low it can go.

conebone69 (February 24, 2012)

Opening track is great but the album falls apart after that

Although disjointed, I'd take Mama I'm Swollen over this

SilentStorms (February 24, 2012)

The plot to this sounds an awful lot like Neil Gaiman's "The Anansi Boys" (great fucking book, by the way). But I'm right in line with GregOrb, as this will be the first Cursive album that I don't buy. It's okay, and I can't keep buying albums that are okay or I will go broke in a month.

telegraphrocks (February 24, 2012)

A solid 7. I still like "Ugly Organ" and "Happy Hollow" the most.

kylewagoner (February 24, 2012)

Really, really, really wanna hear this.

teaessare (February 24, 2012)

I think I need to listen to this more. Cursive is probably my favorite band (for their past work), but I have very little motivation to make it through this enough times to MAYBE enjoy it in the future. Nothing will be beat their work from 2000-2003.

Blackjaw_ (February 24, 2012)

"As a concept, though, Mama felt thin; itâ??s basically a bunch of songs about frontman Tim Kasherâ??s dick"

Fuck that noise.

Blackjaw_ (February 24, 2012)

Such a great album. It's their most energetic, possibly most consistent, and might have the best instrumentation of all their albums. The lyrics aren't as good as on their last couple, and the vocals aren't as hard-hitting, but they weren't going for either of those things with this one. It's just a (nerdy, spacey) rocker of an album that is tied with Awkward Breeds for AOTY so far.

Oh and... definite grower.

greg0rb (February 24, 2012)

I never got into Mama and this is the first Cursive album I'm considering NOT picking up. Still unsure though, maybe I'll give it a chance.

superskabro (February 24, 2012)

great review. written like a real pro. I can't wait to hear this!

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