The Good Life | Help Wanted Nights (Saddle Creek)

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cd_goodlifeThe songs touch heavily on themes of heartbreak, infidelity and failure to commit; compositionally, they range from sparse and simple to fully orchestrated and swelling.

 

 

 

 

 

If Cursive's latest album veered more toward the political than the personal, Tim Kasher's other project, The Good Life, has returned with a definite eye toward inflection. More stripped down and folky than the brash and often hard-hitting Cursive, The Good Life is still, at heart, Kasher's rich, full-throated vocals and sardonic lyrics.

After the down-tempo call to action of "Picket Fence," "A Little Bit More" finds Kasher admitting, "You let me drink from your cup/ and now I don't know how to stop." The third track, "Heartbroke," is more catchy and upbeat, with lyrical plays on words. "Your Share of Men" proclaims, "One man's bed is another man's gurney."

The songs touch heavily on themes of heartbreak, infidelity and failure to commit; compositionally, they range from sparse and simple to fully orchestrated and swelling. "Keely Aimee" is sung to a girl he'd like to know better; lines such as, "I know this world is such a heavy place" lead the listener to infer she's younger, naïve, less able to cope.

"Playing Dumb" finds Kasher ignoring the obvious to maintain status quo: "There's no talk of future plans, there's no romance/ there's no good reason we should be in love/ so I've been making shit up."

"I hope I didn't seem vulgar/ when I asked to come over," Kasher pleads on "Some Tragedy." More of an alt-country symphony than the rest of the tracks, the song ends with such desperation: "I need you so bad/ I mean, right now/ you're all I have."

Kasher calls it quits on the hauntingly beautiful "So Let It Go" before concluding the album with the indie lullaby "Rest Your Head." The song begins slow then swells into an alt-country toe-tapper, the perfect epitome of a Good Life song. "It feels like love," he proclaims, drawing out the syllables as the slide guitar wails.

The Good Life is a slowed-down and fully accessible way to appreciate the lyrical genius and vocal ability of Tim Kasher, and Help Wanted Nights is the perfect hybrid of indie-rock-folk-emo-alt-country. B | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Cursive, Bright Eyes, Iron & Wine

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