Album of the Year
Author: Renee Falk
09/01/2004 | CMJ Music Monthly | www.cmj.com/newmm/ | Album Review
Hearbreak records have served Tim Kasher well: In laying raw the intricacies of a messy divorce on Cursive's Domestica, he created one of the most exciting collections of lovelorn rock. With Album Of The Year, the third LP from solo-project-cum-full-band the Good Life, he renders heartbreak through a more mellow lens—and it's just as disarming, if not more. On the title track, Kasher outlines the beginnings of a doomed relationship, and on "Lovers Need Lawyers," he pleads innocence after a messy split; as always, his storytelling is charmingly direct and instantly affecting. The singer eschews the yelps he leans on in Cursive, and it sounds here like he's finally completely developed his mellow voice. When early Good Life material certainly sounded singularly minded, collected from Kasher's not-fit-for Cursive collection, the fact that Album Of TheYear comes from an actual band is obvious. Strummy acoustic guitars, heavily reverbed slide-guitar, organs, melodica, brushed snare, bongos and trumpet add up to a mix of moody pop that sounds more rooted in '60s folk-pop than the present-day Saddle Creek scene Kasher calls home—knowing Cursive's discography (or the early part of the Good Life's, for that matter) wouldn't make it obvious who you were listening to. You may not call it the actual album of the year, but it's surely the mark of a band finding its own voice.