Cursive – I Am Gemini
Saddle Creek Records
By Ben Allen
I Am Gemini, the latest from Omaha’s Cursive, is a musical tale and concept album focused on twins Cassius and Pollock, separated at birth.
At the beginning of the record we learn that Cassius is a reformed criminal and has just been discharged from a hospital following a car accident. Upon this release, Cassius learns he has inherited a house from his biological parents whom he’s never met. Shortly thereafter he meets Pollock, who has essentially been banished to his parents’ attic.
From there, the story focuses on the relationship of the twins, the balance of good and evil and a classic struggle for the soul. There’s a supporting cast of characters including demons, angels and female twins conjoined at the head.
If only Gemini was as well arranged musically as it was lyrically and conceptually.
The record begins on a strong note with “This House Alive” followed by “Warmer Warmer,” which starts out dissonant and intriguing before evolving into a bass and drum groove accented by beautifully weird guitar. “The Sun and Moon” has a pop, almost new wave feel and is the most instantly likeable cut, wheres “Gemini” feels strong until the organ creeps up to an obnoxious level.
The second half of the record occasionally shines, but more often suffers from cliché guitar riffs, unnecessary vocal harmonies and goofy keyboards. At times it feels as though the music was an afterthought to Kasher’s story of the good and evil twins.
It’s almost as if Cursive was trying to create a record similar to their acclaimed 2000 release Domestica, but just didn’t quite have the inspiration or chemistry they had more than a decade ago. Ultimately the record disappoints in that the moments of transcendence are underscored by its own narcissistic tendencies. – (6/10)
Cursive play Seattle’s Showbox at the Market on November 17 with Minus the Bear and Girl in a Coma. Tickets are $25.