Is I Am Gemini a concept album or a rock opera? “People can call it whatever they feel comfortable calling it,” says Cursive vocalist and primary songwriter Tim Kasher of his group’s upcoming release.
Regardless of how it is categorized, I Am Gemini continues Cursive’s tradition of wedding a narrative arc with raw and emotional Omaha-style indie rock. The album pushes Kasher’s usual storytelling into surrealist territory — telling a Cain and Abel story of twin brothers Cassius and Pollock, who are separated at birth.
Rounding out the cast of characters (the album’s liner notes resemble the script of an opera, complete with a cast listing) is a chorus of angels, a chorus of devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head. Backing up the story is Cursive’s signature hard-hitting indie rock with metal, hardcore and prog-rock flourishes.
In today’s Mp3-dominated music market it might seem odd to put out a piece of work better suited to listening as a whole. “We grew up with albums. We listen to albums,” Kasher says. “I feel good we carry that flag.” But Kasher assures that I Am Gemini needn’t be listened to in one sitting to be enjoyed, nor does the band plan on playing the album from start to finish live.
“We suggest you listen to it in one piece, but that’s up to you. You’re the listener,” says the storyteller.
Cursive plays with Ume 8 pm Monday, Feb. 20, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $18 door. — William Kennedy