Cursive – The Sun and Moon

Cursive will release their seventh album I Am Gemini on February 21st on longtime label Saddle Creek Records. The first single "The Sun and Moon"  is available for download. Since the album's subject is the story of a set of twins, I thought it would be fun to talk about both this new song and an older one.

[You can also stream the track here via Rolling Stone. Either way, you should check out the song!]

Having a guiding concept is not a new thing for a Cursive album. The myth of Castor and Pollux (or Cassius and Pollock), the twins who became Gemini, is fascinating because one brother is a mortal human and the other is an immortal son of Zeus. Gemini is a powerful symbol of duality. The sun and moon of this track fit that schema, and the track gives a sense of how the band will unfold the story. There's a line that goes "You're everything I could never be," and mentions of Greek figures like Dionysus. Musically, it is quite catchy, more of a strong pop melody than I remember hearing from the band (not that I know all of their stuff though, I only have one album that came out 9 years ago. Lots of time for change). Yet it retains the aggression and interesting textures that make Cursive such a compelling listen. The drums are propulsive. The guitars are jagged and angular, but in a smooth way that feels assured and often soars. Tim Kasher's voice is strong but not rough, comfortable navigating the hooks and telling the story. It should be a cool album. You can preorder it here.

I'm excited about I Am Gemini but I'm also excited that this news drove me to revisit The Ugly Organ, Cursive's 2003 release. I remember really enjoying it, but I hadn't spent any time with it in years. It's been reinvigorating to hear it again. The album is very dynamic, sometimes slow and moody, sometimes furiously exploding into beautiful noise. I was a little sad to realize the cello is not a permanent element for the band, because it really brings a lot to the table on The Ugly Organ; it's a key ingredient in the atmospheric stew. Cello or no, I look forward to the new release, but this one is definitely going to back in rotation for me in the mean time. It is an intense journey into places truly dark and macabre, but it can knock you out with some gorgeous moments too. Here's a track that illustrates that well, "A Gentleman Caller." From the bludgeoning attack of the early verses to the almost angelic chorus that takes it out, it's an exhilarating three minutes.

Cursive – A Gentleman Caller

Any other Cursive fans out there? What do you think of these songs? What other albums are worth checking out?