The Game of Monogamy
"I was living in L.A. at the time, and they were setting up a show, and they asked if I wanted to play as basically just a songwriter to open their set," says Kasher from his Omaha home. "It struck me that that would actually be a good idea, and I should write some songs for that. Why not work in that direction?"
The result of Kasher's solo exploration was his first album under his own name, The Game of Monogamy. After the completion of Cursive's grueling tour for 2009's Mama I'm Swollen, Kasher retreated to a rental home adjoining Glacier National Park in Montana this past January and began work on Monogamy. To Kasher's way of thinking, there's very little departure from his overall creative vision on Monogamy. That the album is credited to him rather than Cursive or The Good Life seems merely a matter of semantics.
"The direction, at least to me, doesn't seem so fresh," he says. "As long as I've been writing bigger rock songs, I've always countered them with storytelling kind of songs. This is just a new chapter in that much longer lineage of albums I've been doing in that sense."
Just as many of Cursive's albums have contained an overarching theme, Monogamy offers both a narrative and sonic thread. In this case, Kasher's concern was similar in tone to Cursive's 2003 masterpiece, The Ugly Organ, which examined sexual dysfunction and the crippling self-recrimination that accompanies it. Although the occasional orchestral execution sets it apart (Kasher gets help from Cursive's Patrick Newbery and Matt Maginn, Minus the Bear's Erin Tate and the Glacier National Symphony, among others), Monogamy's philosophical heart beats to Cursive's rhythm.
"It's one of those main, pressing topics for anyone in our large age range," says Kasher. "We're trying to put the proper pieces together of how our lives are supposed to shape. It seems like career and relationships are the top two of our concerns, and from there I'm just deconstructing what seems so complicated."
There is a lush, orchestral quality to parts of Monogamy, which Kasher plans to replicate, to a certain extent, with the addition of violinist Jeffrey Dolce (and later on the tour, a trumpeter/keyboardist and a cellist) to the core band of Kasher, Newbery and drummer Dylan Ryan. Regardless of how it gets translated, and even with Kasher's long and exhaustive touring history behind him, he's extremely excited about Monogamy and this new phase of his career.
"A lot of doing this record is to have a wholly different experience," says Kasher. "The novelty of touring wore off years ago and became a job in a sense — and I don't mean to debase it, but I tour quite a bit and it's become who I am — but this time around, we're going to have major memories of these shows. It's the first time going out with these songs, I'm going out with different musicians. For my personal life experience, this is going to be monumental."
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