Tim Kasher - Adult Film
Kasher’s never been one to settle on one type of sound, and this record is just as eclectic as one would expect from him. “American Lit,” the opener, is a creepy, nearly spoken word track; single “Where’s Your Heart Lie” is a stark, piano-heavy track, almost in the vein of Thursday’s “Empty Glass,” but not as bare; “Lay Down Your Weapons” is an ambient song that shows off Kasher’s passionate vocals; “A Raincloud is a Raincloud” has the catchiest chorus on the album and a bouncy horn section. The latter is a definite highlight, sounding the most similar to a Good Life song, at least until the electronics come in during the chorus. “Truly Freaking Out” is also pretty heavy on those electronic elements and, coming from someone who ordinarily doesn’t like electronics, they sound perfectly organic in this song, as well as all the others. This song is probably the most similar musically to Cursive, and a standout - although that doesn’t mean much on a record like Adult Film. The haunting “You Scare Me to Death” is aptly named, featuring noises that sound straight out of an alien movie and echoey vocals. The song is a good one for the Halloween season, and is sure to be on repeat. “Where’s Your Heart Lie” is one of the quietest songs, and a definite grower. Kasher sounds particularly defeated here, amplified by the no-so subtle female harmonies and reverb behind him. In direct contrast is “A Looping Distress Signal,” a cacophonous track that features Kasher as yelly as he gets on this record as he drops a familiar line about shooting racehorses.
Predictably, another great part of the record is Kasher’s lyrics, as sarcastic - but honest - as always. [i]“We are great/ Americans/ our novels need/ to be written,” he croons in the chorus of “American Lit.” Closer “A Lullaby, sort of,” finds him singing again of dissipating family: “My father lost his father to a cancer/…now no one talks about him anymore/ I wonder if he’d have lived/ if they’d have settled their differences/…or bear these grudges to our deaths?” before he concedes that “The world’s a scary place/ it’s best not to know what’s under the bed/ behind the closet door.” The way he delivers these lines is worthy of praise as well, going from apathetic (“Where’s Your Heart Lie”), to sardonic (“American Lit”), to creepy (“You Scare Me to Death”). And then “A Lullaby, sort of” displays almost country-like vocals, a surprising but pleasant change from the renowned emo legend.
With Adult Film, Tim Kasher has proven himself again to be one of the best (and most underappreciated) musicians currently active. He’s released nothing but quality albums since the late nineties, and this is a welcome addition to his catalog. I’d love to call this his best his The Ugly Organ a decade ago, but that’d be ignoring his other masterpieces. Wherever you place Adult Film in the Kasher canon, it’s hard to deny that it’s one of the best albums of the year, and arguably his most versatile yet. If I needed convincing before, all doubt is erased - this man can only put out good music.
LP / Deluxe LP / CD / MP3