Saddle Creek | Tim Kasher | Reviews


The Game of Monogamy

Author: Chad Grischow
11/11/2010 | | | Album Review
This time on Indie Music Watch, we find out what Ben Folds sounds like singing someone else's words, check in with new piano rock hero Matt White, and hear what Travis' Fran Healy sounds like without the band. We stay across the pond for Marina And The Diamonds' debut, before heading back stateside for New York trash pop duo The Gay Blades' sophomore album, Cursive frontman Tim Kasher's solo debut, and see how well the Bored To Death soundtrack fits the show's quirky vibe.

If you are someone that likes giving new music to friends, you may want to find another gift for that recently married or engaged friend. Short of a prostitute, Tim Kasher's stark, unsettling look at matrimony is probably the worst wedding present ever. It also happens to be a fantastic, brutally honest, self-loathing look at a crumbling marriage and growing older. It is tough to stomach at times, but if you find beauty in the misery of The Smiths and similarly downtrodden bands, you will find plenty to enjoy here. The cuddly mash of jangling riffs and fluffy organ on "Cold Love" and the antsy itch of "Bad, Bad Dreams" are the most accessible, with the latter giving his lustful fantasies a brilliantly guilt-ridden backdrop.

The orchestral overture opening the album quickly informs you that this classic pop album is miles away from Kasher's regular duties as Cursive frontman. Kasher exposes his inner demons immediately on the sparse, awkwardly phrased "A Grown Man", where he wrestles with the expectations of adulthood, "I don't want a kid, and I can't keep being one". Kasher points a thumb more than a finger in his examination of a dissolving marriage, with the jangling riffs and cheery horns wrapping around his confessions of restlessness and frustration on "I'm Afraid I'm Gonna Die Here", as he rails against his wife's attempted understanding with irrational jealousy. Flickering acoustic love song, "Strays" finds him recalling meeting his wife at a bus stop in Omaha with a tragic sweetness. Most of the effort is full of regret and disappointment, like the string-laced ode to fading love "No Fireworks". The hope of "The Prodigal Husband" finds the couple reuniting one drunken evening, with a bitter, pained second half finding the wife regretting the night. While not an easy listen, Kasher's fantastic songwriting make this worth taking the painful ride with him.

Seek - "I'm Afraid I'm Gonna Die Here", "Cold Love", "Strays"
The Game of Monogamy

The Game of Monogamy

LP / CD / MP3