Author: Peter D'Angelo
Part concept album, part electronic adventure and part old-fashioned rock record, the latest disc from Tim Kasher's The Good Life is some of his strongest work to date. Debuting his softer rock outfit on 2000's well received Novena On A Nocturn, the singer and guitarist - whose more aggressive tendencies are acted out in Cursive - has cleaned up the drum machine and sampling techniques that first characterized the group and he's also signed on a full-time band that gives the songs a stronger and more confident feel than before. With Black Out they've constructed the loose tale of a drunken evening filled with introspection, forgotten memories, near surrender, and book-ended by a pair of bleak title tracks. Whether it's describing an aborted search for love in "Some Bullshit Escape," or opining on a calm withdrawal in "Off The Beaten Path," Kasher's hefty voice tells the tale of a broken man and even in his subtler whispered moments the songs' implicit emotions are more believable than most of the dreary rock that is out there. It's an expectedly dark affair, but the music manages to be both uplifting and engrossing, and Kasher's typical self-effacing and eloquent lyrics are incredibly effective. Featuring former members of Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos manning sequencers, horns, piano, and the usual rock instrumentation, The Good Life's new sound has become noticeably more expansive and the band is clearly no longer just a side project. Black Out is a stylistically divergent disc that justifies its lengthy running time with a series of forward thinking tracks, unpredictable changes, and some simply fantastic songs, and while it's incredibly depressing, it's also surprisingly cathartic.