Cursive
I Am Gemini


4.5
superb

Review

by sethdavid USER (2 Reviews)
February 8th, 2012 | 138 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I Am Gemini succeeds in being a return to the cohesiveness and attention to detail which has solidified the reputation of Cursive's early years.

The majority of people who follow Cursive to any extent simply want to know this: “Is I Am Gemini worth my time after Happy Hollow and Mama, I’m Swollen?” (I personally enjoy both albums, but I’ve got to face the facts). The answer is, yes, this album is worth your time. Your response is “why?”, and I’ll tell you why.

Cursive has written a perfectly cohesive album, with all of its parts serving a purpose and no extra baggage. I Am Gemini grows and shifts throughout, drawing the listener in as it progresses. This album is poppy, this album is a bit experimental, this album is heavy and dark, this album has necessary breathing room, this album has true energy to it, and most importantly this album flows flawlessly from beginning to end. Tim Kasher and company (Matt Maginn, Ted Stevens, and Cully Syminton) along with producer Matt Bayles have succeeded in creating an album which is listened to best as a whole, as a fully realized project which deserves to be thought of as one grandiose piece of work. Every song on I Am Gemini is a success which merely becomes stronger when viewed in context as part of a larger story.

Listeners should buy this album or at the very least find a copy of the lyrics as presented by Cursive. This is of note because they are written out as a play which fully illuminates the story of I Am Gemini. I’m going to avoid the story line, however, because that’s something that one should have the opportunity to discover and explore on their own.

“This House Alive” opens I Am Gemini. Advertised as an “epic barnstormer”, this song doesn’t have the immediate fury that you might have expected. Rather, it starts off quietly and cautiously. Eventually, some rolling drums come in and set the album in motion. Kasher begins the story in the abstract through the first (still quiet) half of the song before “This House Alive” really engages the listener at the halfway point. Swiftly, the song is in full swing and reaches its defining moment when Kasher sings “There are voices in the dead of night, a child screaming: ‘I Am Gemini’”. As the song comes to a close, we are left with a little breather before the next three songs.

“Warmer, Warmer” ushers in a trifecta of hard hitting pop-rock songs,. Initially a bit reminiscent of “Art Is Hard”, including those clumsy piano notes so often heard in the Ugly Organ era, “Warmer, Warmer” evolves quickly before settling into the chorus which is effortlessly "new" Cursive. The breakdown towards the end of this track points to the darker elements of I Am Gemini that are to follow.

The halfway point and centerpiece of the album is the shortest non-interlude track, “Gemini”. You know all those adjectives I used to describe this album in the introductory paragraph? “Gemini” has all of them in the course of two and a half minutes. It begins with a lurching guitar, similar to "No News is Bad News" (an ace Cursive b-side) before evolving into a chant of "Gemini" and then suddenly letting loose, culminating in the albums most intense moment thus far.

“Wowowow” may prove to be the strongest song on the record, taking the listener on a whirlwind of guitars akin to “Dorothy At Forty” before toying with tempo changes and classic stop-start Cursive. The defining moment of this song will undoubtedly be the defining moment of this entire album for some, with Kasher singing over pounding guitars before exclaiming “oh Gemini, what have you done? What horrid wolves we’ve become” as the song opens up. “This House A Lie”, an instrumental track, provides the last real breathing room before the final showdown of I Am Gemini which occurs over the course of “The Cat and Mouse” and “A Birthday Bash”.

“Eulogy For No Name”, the album closer, takes place years after the rest of the story. It is a fitting and necessary ending, though, as we wouldn’t have had any sense of closure without it. Kasher’s voice on the first half of this track may be a glimpse of what he sounds like years from now, strikingly similar to Johnny Cash at times, but it works. This song has extreme dichotomy in order to tie the album up: the beginning implementing subtle guitars and sparse drumming, the ending being a wall of sound with triumphant vocals which ends as abruptly as it began.

I Am Gemini, like all Cursive records, provides a whole new palette of sounds for the band to work with while still managing to sound like no one other than Cursive. It is a mix of new and old: discordant piano in the background pointing to The Ugly Organ, guitar tones sometimes pointing to Happy Hollow, drumming reminiscent of Mama, I’m Swollen often rolling through, and a conviction not heard in years. All the while I Am Gemini, as a whole, shows an again redefined Cursive, sounding like they never have before.

I Am Gemini comes to us with an amount of thought, care, and attention to detail that is rarely seen, especially for a bands seventh full length album. It is a concept album at its core, but never makes the mistake of putting concept over album. It is complete yet concise.


user ratings (167)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2012


17231 Comments


save this. it's gonna be deleted. cant post until a stream or release date. repost when one is a available or the release day hits. also this just fucking leaked. wait a bit before blowing your load.

Gyromania
February 8th 2012


16089 Comments


Got my advanced copy not long ago. Have you heard this yet Adam? It's pretty good.

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2012


10585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i enjoy it more than most cursive albums but i'm not a huge fan

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2012


31629 Comments


This will probably be more of that stuff that I just end up not caring about, though the Paper Chase RIYL intrigues me

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2012


6201 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just got it, 'bout to listen. That album art is fantastic. Will read your review when re-posted, lol

acad
February 8th 2012


151 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i thought this was streaming

Funeralopolis
February 8th 2012


11894 Comments


I didn't know these guys were still active not that I really care that much anyway.

Digging: Owen Pallett - In Conflict

acad
February 8th 2012


151 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

nevermind its just 3 songs + clips from the others

Funeralopolis
February 8th 2012


11894 Comments


It's okay man, when the album does come out you'll be the first to show the world what's up at least. Hope you have it saved!

wacknizzle
February 8th 2012


13704 Comments


i loved ugly organ, burst & bloom ep, and domestica. hopefully this is close to as good as you say it is.

Digging: Phobocosm - Deprived

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2012


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review shouldn't be deleted because the album is available for official download from the band's label website (also it's now shipping from their online store):

http://saddle-creek.com/store/515



wacknizzle
February 8th 2012


13704 Comments


saddle creek is/was the shit. haven't been on their site in a long long time.

sethdavid
February 8th 2012


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I wrote this entirely on Word, so I've got it saved...just figured it was "released" since anyone who spent money on it has it and anyone who didn't spend money on it can get it.

sethdavid
February 8th 2012


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Welp....I suppose I'm gonna delete this and repost it in 13 days. If you've bought the album, enjoy.

sethdavid
February 8th 2012


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Err...guess I can't delete it.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2012


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't worry. The review won't/shouldn't be deleted as the album can be legally purchased via the label's site.

As for the review, it's overlong and it needs some trimming. I for one am not a fan of track-by-track reviews 'cause my (and many users') attention spam is not very long. Your writing needs more focus, yet it's still a decent first review as you describe the music quite well.

The album is great btw. Certainly one of their best.

ohfoxxxycole
February 8th 2012


4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

don't delete this its officially released digitally.
so far I'm loving this

CasinoColumbus
February 8th 2012


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was really hoping this would be good, so I'm glad to see these ratings so far.

ohfoxxxycole
February 8th 2012


4353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

do you blame the universe
do you wish you never were

CasinoColumbus
February 8th 2012


340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just finished listening, but have to say I don't like it as much as you do, yet. I suppose this needs to grow on me. Will listen to it with headphones and the lyrics booklet next time to see if that makes any difference.



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