Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Album Review: Cursive - I Am Gemini

Ambition is rarely a bad thing, but Cursive’s I Am Gemini is an example of where the big picture is a bit too big.

Simply put, I Am Gemini is the story of the confrontations of opposite twin brothers. Cursive go to great lengths to hammer it home that this is a concept album and the listener should be paying attention. They go as far as to include a script (stage directions and all) with the album that identifies all the characters.

This is helpful, but a good story should stand on its own. I Am Gemini gets cluttered with characters, plot twists, and references to Greek mythology. In the end, it feels more like a fever dream after a night of stumbling around wikipedia than a narrative.

The music behind this failed epic is equally ambitious for Cursive. At times, such as “A Birthday Bash” and “Wowowow,” the band cranks out angular rock and roll that produces the energy and unease the story doesn’t. The band does a great job with dynamics and makes their louds louder because their quiets are quieter.

Things shift quickly to calm interludes like “Lullaby for No Name” or pop rock tunes like “Double Dead.” The transitions aren’t the smoothest, but the variety is welcome. The key thing that’s missing from the music is a great melody. Listeners will be hard pressed to find a musical phrase that will stick in the heads.

Together, the music and the lyrics add up to something that’s a bit unwieldily and often forced. I Am Gemini is a case of Cursive flying too close to the sun.

Cursive will play Kings on April 7.

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