Lovers Need Layers

Author: Sarah Peters
09/06/2004 | Lost at Sea | | Album Review
I don't know how many times the following phrase has been re-entered into my Omaha lexicon, but it seems to have snowballed in frequency: "Tim Kasher's projects have switched up; Cursive sounds more like the Good Life, and the Good Life sounds more like Cursive."

To some extent, it's true: Lovers Need Lawyers embodies the bitter, aggravated spirit of Cursive, but leaves behind a lot of the broken-spirited depression of Kasher's beautiful side-project debut, Novena on a Nocturn, as well as the bleak electronic meanderings of Black Out. Fueled from history, both projects center on gnarled emotions, and this EP is no different the running theme of this release is disappointment, but in a fairly unexpected turn, Lovers Need Lawyers is painted with a graceful and smiling exterior.

We begin with "Leaving Omaha," a plucky, drunken melody recalling Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles, complete with whistle solo and a rambling discourse. It is as if those bruised feelings are in a state of recovery, and while the words and sentiments are still there, things are looking up. Stated simply, as on their press sheet, these are "some of the angriest happy songs ever recorded."

Next comes "Entertainer," a lazy, sunny stroll describing a lack of respect for one's art. This could be the subject matter of any number of Cursive songs, and could be dripping with the same acidic chemicals of The Ugly Organ, but instead keeps its chin up. The same goes for the title track as well as "Always a Bridesmaid," a simple piano ditty that stays in tune with the overarching, restless theme but recalls more of Belle and Sebastian or Of Montreal than, say, Robert Smith.

A self-described "punk rock samba" follows in "Friction!", an overwhelmingly inspired track that is just as they claimed: loud, but no less melodic, with a dizzying, whirling pace and a lovely din. It shows great ambition, a blaze of anger, a raw edge, and of course, great heart.

Closing with the long and unassuming pop epic, "For the Love of the Song," we return to the initial question is the Good Life really turning into Cursive, and vice versa? The evidence is surely here that both projects are rife with spurned emotions and touchy subjects, but this was always the case. Both also possess an inescapable sense of melody and a fearlessness despite impending darkness.

What I feel we've found in Lovers Need Lawyers is that Tim Kasher is far from spent; constantly inventive, he has taken what could be a repetitive-yet-human statement and given it a fresh face. Here, he has moved to a new stage, not only emotionally but musically. This EP proves his unfolding, exhaustive brilliance yet again.

Lovers Need Layers

Lovers Need Layers

CD / 10" / MP3