Saddle Creek | The Good Life | Reviews


Black Out

03/24/2002 | Nude as the News | | Album Review
Tim Kasher made a name for himself as the emotional frontman and songwriter of Omaha guitar rockers Cursive. However, in 2000, Kasher's side project The Good Life released Novena On A Nocturn (Better Looking Records), which was filled with a sparse, instrumental hodgepodge of heart-wrenching vignettes about a young failure of a man.

Two years later, Kasher has smartly enlisted four other Omaha musicians -- keyboardist Jiha Lee, drummer Roger Lewis, guitarist Landon Hedges, and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fox -- to flesh his side-project out into a full-fledged band. The title takes on a dual meaning in the context of the record. First, like the theater term, it frames and divides the record (variations of the title track appear three times). But the album's songs together construct the story of an evening in which the protagonist grows drunk. Ultimately, to "black out" is his coping mechanism.

Kasher's songwriting for The Good Life falls flat when his lyrics tend toward an unsympathetic degree of self-involvement ("Some Bullshit Escape") or emotionally dead tales ("The New Denial"). However, despite this dour theme, some of Kasher's tales appear as small rays of light. The uptempo outburst "I Am an Island" channels a brief memory of regret and self-awareness, and the bleep- and beat-driven chorus of "O'Rourke's, 1:20 a.m." honestly conveys loneliness. The Good Life has not yet found the perfect balance between instrumentation and lyrics or the sympathetic and the pathetic, but the band seems well on its way.
Black Out

Black Out

LP / CD / MP3