Cursive | I Am Gemini

Saddle Creek
By DAN WEISS  |  February 15, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars

Cursive blew their chance to get out of this town a long time ago when they let cellist Gretta Cohn go. Cohn was the fulcrum behind The Ugly Organ (2003), a concept album that predated Sufjan Stevens's Greetings from Michigan (by four months), American Idiot, and the explosion of concept albums and rock operas that multiplied by last decade's end. And unlike equally ambitious punk rivals Fucked Up — God bless David Comes to Life, but still — they had the decency to keep it under 40 minutes. The greatest emo album of all time was anchored by a string player who tonally enriched their best riffs and legitimized their theatrical splendor all at once. Subsequent stagings kept the splendor but were helped neither by horns (the noisy, never-quite-satisfying Happy Hollow) nor songcraft in general (Mama, I'm Swollen and Tim Kasher's solo The Game of Monogamy had half an album of memorable material each). I Am Gemini is the most musically conventional record they've ever made; it also bears the burden of putting across Kasher's most preposterous story ever, about good and evil twins separated at birth. Gemini's theater-rock is no pain to listen to, but true drama queens will want to get their fix elsewhere.
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