You might not realize that you already know Tim Kasher until you hear his voice. One of the major contributing minds and voices behind the renaissance of the music scene in Omaha, NE in the mid-90s. Kasher, known mainly for his bands Cursive and The Good Life, has released an album under his own name called The Game of Monogamy.
Kasher's new album is composed more orchestrally than his previous rock-oriented projects. Musically, The Game of Monagamy features strings, horns and pianos; lyrically, it is highly conceptual as if intended to be a one-man play. The opus begins with an instrumental track called "Monogamy Overture," then blasts into "Grown Man," where Kasher asks as if a soliloquy, "I am a grown man, how did this happen?"
The Game of Monogamy seems extremely personal and introspective. "I have always reserved the right to declare everything I write as fiction," Kasher says. "But it all comes from personal experience."
Throughout the album, Kasher's songs express worry and discomfort with the concept of monogamous relationships. It appears the singer has been run over by love and left for dead on the side of the road. Kasher is admittedly pessimistic. In the song "There Must be Something I've Lost," Kasher sings "When I was young, I used to believe in love, but hey, I also believed in God. I know, I know. I want to believe I love you again."
Kasher's solo work isn't entirely different than his work with Cursive or The Good Life — listeners that grew up with the music released by Saddle Creek Records in the '90s and '00s will hear a familiar voice and production techniques. Thematically, his solo work is more conceptual in a concrete, tangible manner.
"I'm pretty happy about having the freedom to work under my own name. I intended not to fall back so casually into bass and drums and to write more orchestrated and classically arranged," says Kasher. "The sequence of the songs [on the new album] tells more of a story than I'd really intended. I kind of fell into the theme of midlife suburban melodrama."
The last song on the album (and perhaps the title track) is called "Monogamy." The entire album builds up into the epic ending. Kasher sings, "Our bedroom's been less than intimate. So, I've been taking longer showers. We sleep different hours and on the weekends you're so tired. Now it's birthdays and anniversaries. Monogamy."
Kasher says that he thinks of love like magic. "Magic is difficult. I do struggle with the concept of following it blindly." He says sometimes he is asked to play at weddings, but doesn't sing his solo stuff. "I get invited to play weddings, but when I do it's usually loved ones. I do have an opinion, but I keep my own baggage at home. I would get married."
Kasher will be playing at Clutch Cargo's in Pontiac on 12/10, opening for Minus The Bear. Although he won't be bringing an entire orchestra on tour with him, he will have a cellist and trumpet player accompanying him on stage.
Kasher is truly a veteran in the music industry. In the last 15 years, he's released 13 albums with his bands and under his own name. He's contributed musically to more than a dozen others. Die-hard Cursive fans might disagree, but the raw honesty in The Game of Monogamy is undoubtedly Kasher. | RDW
Tim Kasher w/ Minus the Bear • 12/10, 7 p.m. • Clutch Cargo's • 65 East Huron, Pontiac • 248.333.2362 • clutchcargos.com • $18