With Cymbals Eat Guitars and Conduits, 8 p.m. Friday, April 13, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 713-862-3838 or www.fitzlivemusic.com.
Few bands can retain a dedicated following after throwing fans for stylistic loops the way Cursive has. Yet the long-running Omaha-via-Los Angeles quartet pulls it off. The genre-defying group first turned heads with its post-hardcore-meets-cello masterpiece, The Ugly Organ, before jettisoning said stringed instrument for a horn section on Happy Hollow and stripping down the orchestration with the minimal Mama, I'm Swollen. The band's latest, the aggressive, richly symbolic, and synth-driven I Am Gemini, continues to tweak the formula. "I think the one pitfall would be to get too caught up in the meat of this tale and to lose some of the pleasure of just rockin' out," says guitarist Ted Stevens. "We're at this point where we're really happy as a five-piece band again with a synthesizer and a keyboard, covering the history of Cursive with additional instrumentation or production." And while the sounds may vary, one format has stuck around: I Am Gemini features a conceptual arch, as on Domestica and Happy Hollow. "I like to joke that we forgot how to make a regular track-by-track album," says Stevens. "Because I really feel that way."