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April 19, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Cursive guitarist Ted Stevens says music is a powerful tool for telling stories, and at some point in human history the two became linked. Cursive’s latest album, I Am Gemini, taps into this ancient tradition of storytelling, while adding a little of the post-hardcore genre to the mix.
Promoting the new release, Cursive will return to Mojo’s on April 21, the indie-rock group’s seventh appearance in Columbia since 2003. The band has performed twice at The Blue Note, but Stevens says they prefer the intimate atmosphere of the music club’s smaller sibling, Mojo’s.
When: April 21, 8 p.m.
Cursive’s seventh album delivers a heavy, aggressive tone in music and lyrical content while maintaining its indie-rock cred. When the band began writing the album, lead singer Tim Kasher knew he wanted to write about twins. He became interested in the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, where Leda bore twins to Zeus and Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. One son was named Castor, the other Pollux. From this myth, the Cursive twins Cassius and Pollock were born. The band combined these Greek influences with Christian lore, featuring choruses of angels and devils, which maintained the amped up sound.
“It just feels good to play that kind of music,” Stevens says about the album’s dark and intense mood.
Cursive has had a couple previous concept albums, such as Domestica and Ugly Organ, but Stevens says this album is the most detailed and comprehensive concept album than past LPs.
I Am Gemini is designed for fans to listen to the album while reading along with the liner notes, which contain dialogue, stage direction and a character list.
“There are voices in the attic/ wispy whispers past the cabinets/ … This house is alive” opens the record and creates the album’s creepy setting.
“When we made Mama, I’m Swollen, we were feeling more of a groove with song writing,” Stevens says. “But on this album, there was a conscious decision to make something darker.”
Cursive’s musical bleakness is a familiar sound within Mojo’s walls. Peter McDevitt, a talent buyer for Mojo’s and The Blue Note, knows the group well and says the Omaha-based band never disappoints. “They always try to put on the best show that they can for the fans,” McDevitt says. “And it’s evident from watching them. You can tell that they have fun, too.”
Stevens and the rest of Cursive will also play a shorter set at Slackers to celebrate Record Store Day on Saturday.
Kate Passis, store manager at Slackers, says Cursive is the first nonlocal band they’ve had perform for the nationwide record store event.
As Cursive returns to Columbia for the weekend, Stevens is excited to showcase the band’s newest creation. “I think we’re just at that point,” Stevens says. “We felt like we really had to come out swinging.”