Tim Kasher | The Game of Monogamy (Saddle Creek)

Let’s face it: Tim Kasher has lost his edge.



I always find it odd when singer-songwriter-band leaders (a) launch side projects in the midst of their current bands (see: Cursive vs. The Good Life) and/or (b) “go it alone” under their own name (see: Cursive vs. Tim Kasher). So here we have Kasher, long (ago) an indie rock icon back when Saddle Creek ruled the earth (so it really is still around, huh?) and Cursive still had something to say. In his heyday Kasher—through the vehicle Cursive, of course—was the epitome of angry emo…and, man, did he do it well. Burst and Bloom, Domestica and Art Is Hard should be a permanent part of everybody’s record collection. (Happy Hollow and Mama, I’m Swollen, however, should not.)
But then the story went the way it always does: Kasher lost his edge. Cursive got boring. (Don’t get me started on The Good Life; I don’t think it was ever anything but boring.)
So here we are with Kasher’s solo debut. Maybe giving us a different name will give you a fresh start, eh, buddy? After the obligatory intro (“Monogamy Overture”) we have “A Grown Man,” a song which finds said artiste lamenting the responsibilities inherent in being (yep, you guessed it) a grown man. The line “Gotta be a grown man” carries over into track three, “I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here,” the closest Monogamy comes to Cursive when it was good.
After that, Monogamy embraces its mediocrity. Sure, there’s Kasher’s familiar and lovely yelp—always an asset—but lyrically and sonically the songs just aren’t there. On the trifling “Cold Love” he sings about “this vanilla existence,” and boy, do we know what he means. “There Must Be Something I’ve Lost” finds him wistfully remembering a time when he believed in both love and God. As often as he repeats “settle down,” you get the feeling that’s what he’s trying to accomplish with this snoozefest. Ditto “No Fireworks,” a meanderingly slow tale of lost passion. And here’s the thing, Tim: I love being married. I love monogamy. Why do you have to make it sound so boring?
There are lots of new instruments to (try to) keep things interesting, strings and horns, mostly: violin, viola, cello, trumpet, saxophone, oboe, flute. You can throw whatever you want at these songs; they’re still mostly forgettable. The next step following passionate anger is, well, impassionate mundanity. Excuse me while I pull out DomesticaC- | Laura Hamlett
RIYL: boring Cursive, bland Conor Oberst


About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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