If a project of Tim Kasher’s asked me to walk to the ends of the earth (since we all know the globe is flat) in order to obtain it, I would do so with a smile on my face.
There are certain artists in music whose work has this effect on me, and he happens to be one of them. Kasher is best known for his projects Cursive and The Good Life – and more recently, his solo work. Characterized by a similar “man at the microphone” approach as fellow white beardly man David Bazan, Kasher has made a name for himself by embracing, and even condoling cynicism and self-deprecation.
He is often his own target, but Kasher also spins yarns about religion, sex, alcohol abuse, and often, relationships. I appreciate what he has to say because it has to be at the very least, semi-autobiographical in nature – thus making it far more relatable. Later this year when I get to talk about the new Twin Shadow record Confess that I’ve been jamming constantly the last month, I’ll speak at length about how I latch onto any artist if their words so closely mirrored my own.
Album of the Year covers each of the aforementioned topics in some way at varying points in the album, but Kasher focuses in on relationships at length. I have to believe that some of these relationships were ones based more in truth than in tale. That for me says everything.
At times in his storytelling, Kasher articulates a scenario that very well could have been a story I lived out and recalled to him over double whiskeys. And I’m even not a whiskey guy, but I’d be throwing it back because Kasher.
Album of the Year kicks off, accordingly, with… “Album of the Year.” It took a few years to me to “get” this song and record. I had to live through to the very end of a shitty relationship in order to be able to experience and understand it. And you have to get through that situation all of once to make that same connection with songs and records of similar content. If a significant other in your life becomes an albatross – first, tell her directly not to be an albatross; next, listen to this record to commiserate. It’s comforting knowing someone else has put up with, and gone through some of the same things.
“Night and Day” is a swinging, rhythmic jaunt. “You’re No Fool” escalates and builds into a rollicking plunge. “October Leaves” is straight up pretty. And Album also ramps up the energy with “Notes in His Pockets” and “Lovers Need Lawyers,” Kasher’s driving vocals reminiscent of his other baby, Cursive.
But the star of the album is “Inmates” – a sprawling, essay-length tune. At over 9 minutes long, by the end of the song, listeners will feel intimately connected to the characters in a way I haven’t experienced in any other song. Sides will be taken, “teams” drawn.
TK closes the record on an acapella note, capping off enjoyable melancholia (no matter how twisted that sounds). Nearing a decade since Album was released, the album has proven to me to be both timeless and, as it turns out, the pinnacle of Good Life albums. It stands head-and-shoulders above its brethren.
From my favorite non-Cursive Kasher album, this is “Notes in His Pockets” –
Standout tracks: All of Album of the Year is supremely listenable, and is meant to be played as a complete piece. Through various spins of AOTY, I find myself stuck on new songs each time, with steady repeats.
Weakest track: “A New Friend”
RIYL: Cursive, Commander Venus, Bright Eyes, David Bazan. Singer-songwriters or acoustic-based music.