Cursive's 'I Am Gemini' A Lyrical, Sonic Adventure
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 14:02
I Am Gemini
The tough thing about reviewing I Am Gemini is the conflict between focusing on the music and the lyrics. A brief introspection into a track can lead to a five-page paper bearing resemblance to your homework for an English class. We'll tread that tightrope of over-analyzing Cursive's latest concept album for the sake of doing it more justice than harm. So, without further ado, welcome to the gnarliest Cursive album yet by Tim Kasher, Matt Magnin, Ted Stevens, Patrick Mewberry and Cully Symington.
I Am Geminiis about the reunion of conjoined twin brothers who were separated at birth. The ambitious lyrics are intended to be the dialog exchanged by the twins, Cassius and Pollock and are riddled with literary allusions and archaic diction. It's often overdramatic and theatric, which would only seem out of place if the music didn't rise to the occasion.
I Am Geministarts so-so but gains momentum in the taunting second track "Warmer Warmer." Vocalist Tim Kasher gives a little rebel yell at one point, among errant notes on "phantom" instrumentation over an aggressive beat and the whispered lyrics, "warmer, warmer, house on fire, cut the telephone wire." At that point, you're either on the bus or off.
Most of the album showcases some of the heaviest work to come from Cursive. The best of which is "Wowowow" and "A Birthday Bash."
Furthermore, when "Drunken Birds" is contrasted against the brief instrumental and self-explanatory "Lullaby for No Name," the weight of it cuts even deeper into the deranged soul of the twins' story than it might next to the following track "Gemini." (It should be noted that the brothers are manifestations of good and evil, so the presence of soft and hard have more than an aesthetic purpose.) Cursive does this again (and in our opinion, more successfully) later in I Am Gemini with "Wowowow" and "This House a Lie."
That said, many songs address the duality of the album's characters more directly, "The Sun and Moon," "The Cat and Mouse" and "Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton" are a pretty allusion and narrative heavy despite their more bouncy demeanors.
The biggest accomplishment by Cursive is creating a focused musical experience out of 13 tracks that could, arguably, stand alone. It's obvious the writing for this album was disciplined and, once again, the guys from Cursive have made storytelling feel like something new.