The Game of Monogamy
Author: James Christopher Monger
The great American novel, an unobtainable dream for so many writers, exists in the music world as well, though the zeitgeist is often less an issue. Cultural and political relevancy (in song) pale in comparison to the eternal battle between love and heartbreak, and every songwriter takes up his or her pen/computer keyboard to join the battle at some point in their careers. Cursive/Good Life frontman Tim Kasher's solo debut takes a cinematic approach to the concept, crafting an ambitious, indie rock/orchestral song cycle that chronicles the journey from hopeless romantic to lost, wilderness-bound adult. It's a subject matter he has visited before, but never with such a fine-toothed comb. Musically, Kasher is all over the place, laying down enough staccato horn sections, sweeping strings, and quirky time signatures to give Sufjan Stevens a run for his money. What the Game of Monogamy occasionally lacks in hooks, it more than makes up for in style. Kasher's conversational tone, used to great effect in the ballads "Strays," a lament to outsider youth on the precipice of adulthood, and "The Prodigal Husband," an emotionally-charged, last-chance plea for reconciliation, keep the listener engaged throughout the 11 tightly woven tracks. The flow is effortless, the angst is real, and the songs are lovingly performed, which is all one can really ask from any stab at the unobtainable.