Saddle Creek | Tim Kasher | Reviews


The Game of Monogamy

Author: Matt Schild
10/04/2010 | | | Album Review
A decade ago, Tim Kasher tackled the notion of monogamy, or rather the failure to hold true to monogamy with Cursive in that band's Domestica (review) (Saddle Creek), an album that was perilously inspired by his own divorce. With his first proper solo album, Kasher addresses the perils of the committed lifestyle head on once more. Things haven't gotten easier for the singer/guitarist to settle down.

Then again, settling down's never easy, even for the most pussy-whipped among us, and The Game of Monogamy reminds us how tough that battle can be. Dropping back onto the determination of a man not wanting to face down a second divorce, Kasher works his way through the mundane moments of married life. Those painful, painful mundane moments: The Game of Monogamy peeks in on a narrator desperately trying to hold a mature relationship together after every bit of novelty's worn down to a nub. One song, he's looking up old girlfriends on Facebook, the next, he's sitting through another couple's ten-year anniversary party marveling in the boring ironies of attending the affair with a woman who he's utterly bored with. He even skips out on the relationship for a bit -- but only long enough to realize how much he's come to cherish everything he thought he loved about the same-old, same-old of a committed relationship. If it's not quite Romeo and Juliet, it's not quite War of the Roses either. Monogamy is a bitch, Kasher tells us, but it's sure better than the alternative.

While Kasher's narrator peddles the salvation of monotony on this album, the songwriter is anything but predictable. Dropping the visceral post-hardcore of Cursive, Kasher adopts orchestration, pianos and mid-rate dynamics. It's not quite as singer-songwriter obsessive as his previous semi-solo stint, The Good Life, but it sure ain't going to punish you like Cursive's ferocity. Kasher's comfortable, if not much more than adequate, in his new, grown-up surroundings. When The Game of Monogamy works (as in "Grown Man" and "Monogamy,") Kasher finally seems able to command a band beyond post-hardcore dynamics. When it doesn't, he's grasping at new ideas that aren't quite finished yet.

Monogamy is hard work. Kasher's impressed us with that fact a couple times now. This time around, perhaps with the help of maturity and hindsight, The Game of Monogamy is ready to see it through to the end. It's not a fairytale ending, but it's a realistic ending. There's no happily ever after. Get used to it, kids.
The Game of Monogamy

The Game of Monogamy

LP / CD / MP3