Tim Kasher - The Game of Monogamy (Cover Artwork)

Tim Kasher

Tim Kasher: The Game of MonogamyThe Game of Monogamy (2010)
Saddle Creek Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: superskabrosuperskabro
(others by this writer | submit your own)

After the demise of Commander Venus in the mid-'90s, Conor Oberst took the folk road with Bright Eyes, Todd Fink and Matt Bowen started a dance craze with the Faint, and Tim Kasher kept it real with Cursive. Cursive was a vehicle for Kasher to bear his heart on his sleeve and be as openly complicate.
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After the demise of Commander Venus in the mid-'90s, Conor Oberst took the folk road with Bright Eyes, Todd Fink and Matt Bowen started a dance craze with the Faint, and Tim Kasher kept it real with Cursive. Cursive was a vehicle for Kasher to bear his heart on his sleeve and be as openly complicated as he wanted to be. After six incredibly influential and impressive albums with Cursive and two albums with his side project the Good Life, Kasher decided to go solo for The Game of Monogamy.

While it's not exactly clear why Kasher needed to release a solo record when he was the creative force and sole songwriter behind both Cursive and the Good Life, I'm still happy that he tried something that was (a little) different. The album features Kasher's signature vocals and self-flagellating, yet insightful lyrics. This time around, Kasher launches a straight-out attack on the institution of marriage and the foolish mortals that toy with the idea. Kasher, as usual, is singing from experience.

The arrangements of the songs are a bit of a nod to the newest indie rock royalty, Sufjan Stevens, but never become as self-absorbed as Stevens'. Also prominent on Monogamy are horns. After Gretta Cohn abandoned her post as cellist following 2003's phenomenal The Ugly Organ, Kasher filled the void with horns. And lots of them. Both 2006's Happy Hollow and 2009's Mama, I'm Swollen were filled with horns. The bouncy "I'm Afraid I'm Gonna Die Here" sounds like a cross among Cursive, Sufjan Stevens, Modest Mouse and Less Than Jake. It's lots of scathing fun, trust me.

While the slight detour from the standard Cursive sound produces some great tunes, the best moments of the whole album occur in the painfully moving "No Fireworks." The song acts as an anti-love song--not in the sense that it's a "love stinks" anthem, but that it chronicles the sad realization that the flame that was once there has burnt out. Towards the end of the song, Kasher sings (presumably from experience), "Went back to the bar where we first met / and recreated the event from the booth to the bed / and I couldn't feel anything at all."

The rest of the songs feature lush arrangements and the typical harsh lyrics. Kasher has definitely outlived the skeet-shooting of trends that plagued his Saddle Creek sidekicks in the Faint and Bright Eyes, as well as having established himself as being exceptionally articulate in the language of disappointment, defeat and self-analysis. While not a perfect record from start to finish, The Game of Monogamy is definitely worth a download, if not a purchase.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
greg0rb (November 22, 2010)

Decent album, but yeah I agree Nick, why go solo? You can make either of those bands morph into this sound. I guess he wanted to play with some different friends than in those bands? Or are they people from Cursive and Good Life? Good review Nick, I am envious of your ability to be concise while still telling us everything we need to know. Nice work.

DarrenMcLeod (November 21, 2010)

Really solid album, one of my favourites of the year.

encorp (November 20, 2010)

I......... just........... cant..............get into this

keithybobeefy (November 20, 2010)

Score is largely due to No Firworks. Fucking beautiful.

accidentprone88 (November 20, 2010)

Yeah, there's definitely four Good Life albums, with at least three of them being better than this. That being said, this easily kicks the shit out of the last Cursive album and is still in contention for being my album of the year (pun not intended).

I think I like this album for the same reason I loved American Slang so much the first time I heard it: it's instantly familiar but it's not a detriment. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I think sometimes it's nice to hear an artist release exactly what you expect them to.

alpod4 (November 19, 2010)

Album of the year!

eran_zombis (November 19, 2010)

100% agree with chickswithdicks

chickswithdicks (November 19, 2010)

there are 4 good life albums, and i think i might prefer them to this. i'm still trying..

kellenmacklin (November 19, 2010)

I like this album a lot.

Blackjaw_ (November 19, 2010)

Love it.

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