As for Cursive, they are a distinct new incarnation of the band, one that is both more mature and progressively ardent. While I am Gemini may be an obtuse tale of split personality delusions, they still put on a show that's as comprehensible as it is blaring. Cursive's live show translates: “We're brilliant, we're sophisticated, we're surly and we still know how to rock.”
While Tim Kasher’s ambition to create a fully realized concept album is admirable, the decision seems ill-advised. After all, we live in the modern age of iPod Shuffles, when music fans are increasingly shunning full-length albums in favor of individual tracks. As a result, the failure of I Am Gemini is partly due to the success of the album’s cohesiveness.
A big, hearty salad of sound is the way to describe Hysterical Stars by Head of Femur. Musicians Matt Focht (vocals, guitar, also of Bright Eyes), Ben Armstrong (vocals, keyboards, drums, ex-Commander Venus) and Mike Elsener (vocals/guitar, also of Solar Wind) form the backbone of this Nebraska based indie rock “supergroup.” But Head of Femur has brought in a large number other players on their second full length album. Where else can you hear a trumpet, gong, glockenspiel and violin all wrapped up in a pop album?