Reviews

Album of the Year

Author: T.J. Simon
10/01/2004 | Musicbox | www.musicbox-online.com | Album Review
The Good Life is the emo-pop outlet for Tim Kasher, lead singer and songwriter for the Omaha-based, alt-rock collective Cursive. In essence, the side project allows him to tone down the volume of his main ensemble in order to deliver acoustic guitar-oriented confessionals that explore the ins and outs of romance. His latest effort Album of the Year is a conceptual piece with each of its dozen tracks signifying a calendar month that features Kasher's romantic reflections on the season.

The alluring title track opens with insightful lyrics, smooth vocals, and a sparse arrangement that recalls R.E.M. sprinkled with a dash of The Cure and a whole lot of Bright Eyes minus the cloying vocals. The best cuts (You're Not You, Under a Honeymoon, Inmates) draw upon a similar formula of acoustic beginnings that change tempo, add instrumentation, and finish as lush pop masterpieces. Inmates, in particular, shines brightly as Kasher yields the lead vocal duties to female band-mate Jiha Lee, and as a result, the song flourishes with its nearly 10 minutes of emotional exploration and heartbreak that invokes the spirit of Rilo Kiley. Another high point is Lovers Need Lawyers, a peppy tune in the vein of Belle and Sebastian, which severs the somber, sad-bastard ambience that much of the album exudes.

The Good Life is a rare side project that surpasses the artist's day job. The always impressive instrumentation is smooth and professional never harsh or screechy, and the spacey, U2-like guitars on A New Friend as well as the horns that conclude Under a Honeymoon are stand-out examples of Kasher's exquisite sense of songcraft. While Album of the Year isn't a hook-heavy pop outing, it also isn't mere background music because Kasher's super-smart and insightful lyrics serve as the anchor that holds this truly remarkable effort together
Album of the Year

Album of the Year

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