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June 20, 2024

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The Good Life
Lovers Need Lawyers (Saddle Creek)

By: Alex Steininger

Cursive front man Tim Kasher's other musical outlet, The Good Life, is more pop-focused and less abrasive, though still as biting and charming. On The Good Life's latest, Lovers Need Lawyers, Kasher continues discussing his divorce, which has been covered extensively on Cursive's Domestica as well as on Cursive's Ugly Organ. Though, if there was any restraint in those deeply personal records, Lovers Need Lawyers destroys those barriers and lets it all hang out for the world to see.

Take the tongue-in-cheek "Entertainer", for instance, where Kasher proclaims "I'm not an artist, I'm asshole without a job. Making money off alcohol, making money off of calling myself out. Look at me, 'I'm a fraud, a phony'. Entertainer, it's all you'll ever become. You're not an artist, you're a musician. So entertain us, sing us a song".

It is this kind of cynicism and wit that makes Kasher one of the brightest songwriters out there today, and his knack for bending melody and converting obtuse indie-rock convention into songwriting gold is unparalleled.

The title track exemplifies all of this to a tee. As Kasher sings "you're judge and jury, so hang me and take me for all I am worth, better or worse", when discussing his ex wife, he turns otherwise standard indie-rock into a quirky, post-punk-charged ditty that is compelling, on one hand having you hone in on the melody, while on the other making sure you purely focus on the lyrics. And when the bridge hits and Kasher painfully exerts, "I could never take another's hand, it's to you I'm condemned", you're already knee deep in it and loving every minute of it. That is, if you weren't busy shedding tears for Kasher and wanting to plea his case along with him.

On "Friction" Kasher adds a bit more abrasion to the mix, fueling the indie-rock with punk aggressive, especially during the chorus when he screams "friction", while on "Always A Bridesmaid", Kasher's pop sensibilities are in full force, along with his trademark wit and lyrical outlook. Kasher makes you want to fall in love, even when you know the ending will be tragic.

The Good Life indeed, especially when Kasher is captain of the ship. A songwriter that knows what he wants to say -- and how to get the listener to hear it without confusion or missing the point, Kasher hits it time and time again, turning sour notes into blissful melodies. I'll give this an A.

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