Were Tim Kasher a screenwriter—and yes, it’s only a matter of time—he’d be well-off and well-known for semi-downer romantic comedies, each and every one of which would undoubtedly star John Cusack as The Man Who Would Not Grow Up, and a generic, all-American sort of actress cast as the love interest who grew tired of waiting for the proposal and decided to leave in pursuit of a career. But Kasher’s a songwriter, and these themes aren’t so comedic in song—time and time again, he’s put himself out there as a man of baggage who never got over “the one,” yet couldn’t stand the thought of settling down. Alas, “the world don’t revolve around your prick,” he sings, “just ask your old girlfriends.”
The leader of Cursive, who’ve created some brilliant records halfway between emo and hardcore, and the Good Life, a more confessional outlet, Kasher has finally admitted that he’s more or less a solo artist, and he’s finally done it under his own name.
The Game of Monogamy is musically consistent with itself but is Kasher’s weakest record under any name. The transition between “Monogamy Overture” and the a cappella opening to “A Grown Man” is a rather Danny Elfman way to start things off, and is more or less an introduction that refers to Kasher as “I, Jack, the pumpkin king.” From there, the record becomes an experiment in what could have been if Cursive had been led by Sufjan Stevens; it feels like winter in a cabin, which it more or less was, brass and strings, big and grand, vaguely whimsical.
But it’s the lyrics that are all Kasher’s. They’ve been his, for years, over the span of several albums. “A Grown Man” is an update on Cursive’s “Caveman” (Mama, I’m Swollen). “Strays” is an update on “Album of the Year” (off the Good Life’s Album of the Year). “There Must Be Something I’ve Lost” is the new “The Recluse” (The Ugly Organ). And while none of these songs are as much poetry as the originals, Kasher’s grown more blunt with age, and it’s not been until now that he can finally admit the thing he’s been hinting at for years: that every man wants to sleep with every woman he sees. If mortgage is in fact the burden it’s labeled here, then all monogamous relationships may very well be doomed. [Saddle Creek]
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