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The Game of Monogamy

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Album Review

The great American novel, an unobtainable dream for so many writers, exists in the music world as well, though the zeitgeist is often less an issue. Cultural and political relevancy (in song) pale in comparison to the eternal battle between love and heartbreak, and every songwriter takes up his or her pen/computer keyboard to join the battle at some point in their careers. Cursive/Good Life frontman Tim Kasher’s solo debut takes a cinematic approach to the concept, crafting an ambitious, indie rock/orchestral song cycle that chronicles the journey from hopeless romantic to lost, wilderness-bound adult. It’s a subject matter he has visited before, but never with such a fine-toothed comb. Musically, Kasher is all over the place, laying down enough staccato horn sections, sweeping strings, and quirky time signatures to give Sufjan Stevens a run for his money. What the Game of Monogamy occasionally lacks in hooks, it more than makes up for in style. Kasher’s conversational tone, used to great effect in the ballads “Strays,” a lament to outsider youth on the precipice of adulthood, and “The Prodigal Husband,” an emotionally-charged, last-chance plea for reconciliation, keep the listener engaged throughout the 11 tightly woven tracks. The flow is effortless, the angst is real, and the songs are lovingly performed, which is all one can really ask from any stab at the unobtainable.

Customer Reviews

Happy to buy.

Tim Kasher returns to what he does best, writing self-loathing and depressingly pessimistic songs about relationships. Some may complain about this, but i don't. The songs are catchy and its an improvement from the last cursive, and good life albums.

Im in a serious relationship, and this album writes about everything i'm not feeling, but i still find the stories enjoyable and a good listen. I hope to see more of this kind of writing from tim.


Kasher is the frontman of Omaha bands Cursive and The Good Life; the former an experimental alt-rock quartet, the latter a folksier rock combo. I’m not sure what creative impulses aren’t being covered by his bands, but here comes his first solo release—a detailed song-cycle about its titular concept that splits the difference between his bands’ primary vibes. Kasher’s got a quivery, emo-infused voice akin to his labelmate Conor Oberst, though Kasher’s work is more abrasive and tough-minded (Cursive’s 2003 release The Ugly Organ is one of the best alt-rock releases of the decade). That prickly honesty’s front and center on both the faster rock tunes (“A Grown Man” and the jangly “Cold Love”) and this release’s raison d’etre—the slow ones. It’s not just the difficulty of fidelity Kasher questions throughout these 11 tracks, but the passage of time, the decay of passion, the social inertia that creeps into even the best partnerships. These themes collide in two standout tracks—“There Must Be Something I’ve Lost,” in which an innocent perusal of a high school yearbook becomes an obsession; and the gorgeous, ethereal “Monogamy,” an entire lifetime of good and bad choices in a succinct, surgical, unforgiving five minutes.

It's very Tim Kasher.

This album is classic Tim Kasher, if you know Cursive you know what I'm saying. He is very smart and very critical of his world. The lyrics are often in story form yet very much questions at the same time. How can I live like this? Where is my life going? How can I believe? Musically brilliant, and it's everything you're looking for in an album. Don't be shy, just buy it.


Born: August 19, 1974 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Nebraska-born indie rocker Tim Kasher, best known as the frontman for prominent Saddle Creek Records outfits Cursive and the Good Life, grew up in Omaha alongside fellow crooner and close friend Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes (Oberst references Kasher in the Bright Eyes tune "Nothing Gets Crossed Out"). Kasher's literate and heavily thematic songwriting style has won him numerous critical accolades, and the nine records he has released under the Cursive and Good Life banners have helped to cement his...
Full Bio
The Game of Monogamy, Tim Kasher
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