Author: Tim Anderl
The months leading up to my marriage were filled with joy, anxiousness, doubt and trepidation - my journey was made infinitely more difficult by the intricate and bitter debut album by The Good Life. Novena on a Nocturn consumed me with lush and desolate images that recounted failure and hardship Cursive's Tim Kasher encountered over the last several years, including those encountered during his marriage. It seemed that this album was a compelling and disheartening wedding present from Kasher, who is without a doubt this century's harbinger of heartbreak, to me. Capturing pain and packaging it with keyboard driven electronica, sparse guitar, drums, and a menagerie of moody piano, cello, etc. it seems is The Good Life's goal - a poignant and guilty pleasure for any self-deprecating indie rocker. Black Out, The Good Life's sophomore effort sets these terrible butterflies loose (again) on the path from a listener's ears all the way to their twisted gut. The trouble and triumph with this formula lies is in the listener's disability to separate Kasher's captivating and compelling stories of doomed relationships, loneliness and drunkenness from one's own. On "Early Out The Gate" Kasher wails, "What you are looking for is never what you find/Nothing ever seems to turn out right/Still you run around still searching all these long and different streets/ For a lover or some cover to protect you from the heat you feel inside/Inflamed since you learned to cry," amidst a curiously warm progression of guitar strumming and sustained piano chording, and a crescendo of oboe and drum machine. Each of the other 13 tracks is equally unapologetic and thought-provoking. While this record will appeal to fan's of Bob Mould's Workbook, Bright Eyes' Fevers and Mirrors and The Cure's Disintegration alike, Black Out is a soundtrack that should be reserved for those particularly tumultuous, rainy evenings.