Author: Nick Krenn
Last year Cursive and The Good Life front man, Tim Kasher, ventured on his own for the first time to create the album The Game of Monogamy. The release was mostly overlooked by the music media; however, I still contend that it was one of the better releases of 2010. Many critics argue that Kasher's lyrics are tired. It's true that many of his lyrics written while with Cursive and The Good Life revolve around the same themes of divorce, sex, and religion. The critics that do like Kasher often dismiss him as a lyrical artist, meaning that you have to pay attention to what's being said in the songs to really enjoy the music.To write off his music by those critiques alone is ridiculous to me. I happen to enjoy Kasher's wordiness as I still believe lyrics are an integral part to a song. And on The Game of Monogamy, Kasher was at his best, crafting an album inspired by the 1950s, pre-sexual revolution and its remaining effect on society today. Bigamy: More Songs From The Monogamy Sessions, a promotional tour EP only available at his shows and the Saddle Creek Records' website, features more songs that were written during the recording of The Game of Monogamy.Separating Kasher's solo work from his bands' is somewhat hard to do. Musically there are differences like Kasher bringing in Members of the Glacier National Symphony to perform classical instrument parts on Monogamy, including strings, harp, oboe, flute, and trombone. The new musical additions are not as prominent on Bigamy's seven tracks, so it comes across more as Kasher performing an acoustic set with few bells and whistles. Still, Bigamy does feel like closer kin to his solo LP than Cursive or The Good Life.I don't think it's fair to judge this release against Monogamy. After all, these are essentially b-sides that Kasher chose to release for diehard fans rather than scrap and lock away. Bigamy isn't without its charms though. "No Harmony" and "The Jessica" are both gems that deserved to see the light of day. "No Harmony" follows along with the main themes from Monogamy as an older gentleman tries to pick up women in a bar, debating over younger women or those his age. There's the typical, Kasher self-deprecation present in the song as the main character talks about his expanding waistline."The Jessica" recalls a lost love that Kasher regrets giving up once every other guy begins finding her desirable. Obviously they see something that he missed out on, and it leaves him feeling remorseful for that reason, not necessarily because he loves her. Kasher's vocals are distinctly engaging in the song as Kasher uses an inflection reminiscent of Bob Dylan near the end. Elsewhere on the EP, "A Bluer Sea" is another stunner with a greater theatrical essence, complete with guest female vocals.The songs on Bigamy retain some of the same orchestral rock elements that were present on Monogamy, but for the most part, Bigamy's tracks are driven by acoustic guitar. The last track "Trees Keep Growing", an Azure Ray cover, breaks away to employ electric guitar, keyboard, and fuzzy distortion. It's a nice bit of change to close out the EP and sonically differs from all the songs on this EP and Kasher's previous LP.The only weak spots for me were the three tracks that I didn't mention. The narrative of "Run Rabbit Run" lost me in the middle, and I never felt like catching up to it. "Opening Night" and "Lilybird And The Trust Fund Kid" are both built on story-lines with characters, but they're just not as interesting as Bigamy's best tracks. Being a promotional EP, I wasn't expecting to be blown away or for any of the songs to live up to the quality of Monogamy. What I got was four exceptional tracks, plenty of good to outweigh the not so bad. The 411: Bigamy: More Songs From The Monogamy Sessions is not made up of throwaway tracks to appease fans or rake in some extra dough at concerts. There are four solid tracks that any Tim Kasher fans would want in their library. Even the weaker tracks aren't bad songs, but they could have been left off without disappointing anyone. If you've never listened to Tim Kasher before, I suggest you start with his work in Cursive and The Good Life or The Game of Monogamy. Once you know you want some more, seek out Bigamy.