I moved from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan over the Summer…this is relevant only because my former Post Office (which has consistently been rated one-star) took over three months to forward on Tim Kasher’s solo disc to my new address. Perhaps there is a reason that the current Yelp review of this Post Office starts with the quote “Nobody in their right minds should ever visit here unless it's an absolute necessity or out of desperation.”
Getting back on track, I’m glad that Tim Kasher’s solo debut, The Game of Monogamy, finally arrived and this disc ended up on my 2010 “best of” list. The Game of Monogamy is similar to Kasher’s work with Cursive and includes appearances from Patrick Newbery (from Cursive), Matt Maginn (also of Cursive) and Minus the Bear’s Erin Tate. The album is essentially a concept album as it follows the protagonist through the romantic arc of courtship, complacency, disillusionment, contempt and ultimately stifling compromise. Kasher's lyrical narratives are at their most colorful on this disc and he creates a character sketch of the disc's focal couple which is progressively built up through the rise and fall of their relationship. This is definitely not a story for the weak or the hopeless romantic.
The disc starts with a cinematic build-up of orchestral strings which then leads into Kashner’s midlife declaration of “I am a grown man. How did this happen? People are gonna start expecting more from me.” From here, the disc heads into the high-energy “I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here” (which includes horns and handclaps) and the bouncy music somewhat masks Kasher's concern that he has “written” the last chapter in his life and is now “collecting cobwebs on the porch”. The arc progresses with the narrator’s current relationship deteriorating (“Cold Love”) and his wishing to recapture his youth and “have sex with all [his] old girlfriend” (“There Must Be Something I Lost”). The inevitable cheating happens (“Bad, Bad Dreams”) along with the expected regret (“The Prodigal Husband”) and the disc ends on a down-note highlighting the stifling pain of domestic relationships (“Monogamy”).
While The Game of Monogamy isn’t the self-immolation of works like Lou Reed’s Berlin, this disc isn’t far behind. Kasher’s narrative and storytelling abilities have taken a leap forward with this release and the detailed story line invites a stage adaptation of the album similar to what Reed did with Berlin.