Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Album Review: Tim Kasher - The Game of Monogamy

On his debut solo album, The Game of Monogamy, Tim Kasher tells stories about the battles nearly every man fights.

These are more than trite tales of love won and lost. Kasher explores the mindset of a man in a committed relationship and how a man comes to terms with settling down and growing older from a more mature perspective than most. His lyrics are perceptive and will invoke many “I know exactly what he’s talking about” moments.

“There Must Be Something I’ve Lost” is a brilliant example. Kasher’s character bounces between wondering if old girlfriends think about him and reminding himself that he isn’t the center of their lives. He seems to accept his own insignificance by the end of the track, but it’s an uneasy acceptance.

The Game of Monogamy isn’t all about doubts and regrets. The main character recognizes the value of his relationship and the warm moments he’s shared with his new family on the contented “Strays.” Kasher’s balance in his approach to the theme is a strength of this album.

Musically, the album is lacking. The orchestral arrangements provide some lovely moments, but everything, whether it’s a shift in style or a change in instrumentation, is meant only to set the mood. This goal is accomplished, but it makes for weak melodies and most of these songs are unmemorable beyond Kasher’s lyrics.

Kasher plays to his strength — writing lyrics — on The Game of Monogamy and the result is one of the more astute albums about love and commitment. A few more decent melodies and it could have been a classic.

The Game of Monogamy is out October 5 on Saddle Creek Records. Tim Kasher will play Local 506 in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

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