Help Wanted Nights

Author: Matthew Siblo
09/01/2007 | Venus | | Album Review
Tim Kasher is wired with a flair for theatrics. For the better part of the past decade, Kasher has penned a lifetime's worth of alcohol-soaked laments subtly done with the insular the Good Life and with a more bombastic flair in Cursive. Stylistic differences aside, both bands retain the same sweeping ambitions that Kasher's projects have become known for: It's always about making a grand gesture—sometimes for the better (Cursive's Domestica, The Good Life's Blackout) and sometimes for the worse (Cursive's Happy Hollow).

Help Wanted Nights comes with its own shtick too: the supposed soundtrack to a penned screenplay. But these songs dont require the daunting weight of a cohesive concept to surround them. The tragic misstep of last year's Happy Hollow was that it felt bogged down with infantile non-believer commentary usually reserved for catholic high school lunch discussions. With Help Wanted Nights, Kasher is in more familiar territory, tales where he "picks up six packs at last call" for his "sad valentines." It's nice to have him back here, even if these stories now bleed together like the drunken ramblings of Kasher's protagonists.

"Keely Aimee" is yet another narrative about a wayward friend/lover in which our narrator offers salvation if only he could save himself first; promises are made for a "whole new life, if only we knew how." More effective is "Playing Dumb," where in mid-attempt to woo his companion, Kasher gets called on his getting-to-know-you bullshit. His response? "I shrugged and asked, 'is that a problem?' "

Musically and lyrically, Help Wanted Nights is not the among the most memorable in the Kasher canon, but instead another album's worth of self-inflicted pain feeling somewhat routine.

Help Wanted Nights

Help Wanted Nights

LP / CD / MP3