Tim Kasher – “Adult Film”
“….if you’ve been moved by Kasher’s work before, odds are good you’ll find something interesting here as well.”Brendon Shumate
out of 10
October 8th, 2013
Let’s be honest: The collective obsession with irony has progressed so far now that a lot of us find ourselves being ironic ironically, and the feeling is getting to be like choking to death. Tim Kasher’s (of Cursive fame) latest solo offering of Adult Film is well informed in every note and every lyric by this kind of late-stage hyper-self-awareness, and the result is a record that seems to be playing at the edge of poignancy, darting around thematically between cynical disillusionment, raw fear, and tired resignation. Kasher seems almost to be laughing at the idea of putting out a record on the initial track, “American Lit,” as he sings: “And when our bones are burned to ashes/And great, great grandkids are doing acid/They’ll give two shits about all this insipid brilliance,” and seems to continue on in resolute disaffection through “The Willing Cuckold” (the title of which explains it pretty effectively), but any listener that hasn’t yet heard a kind of shy sincerity peeking out in brief glimmers of genuine sorrow and insecurity will be slapped in the face by it in “You Scare Me to Death,” as Kasher almost whispers “Surely you’ll leave me yet.” The record ends with “A Lullaby, Sort Of,” in which Kasher claims “I don’t regret the honey or the sting,” leaving us to wonder whether he’s only written the worst of what he’s seen, and hope that, really, it’s not as bad as all that after all.
Musically, the record is nothing new or stunning — veterans of Kasher’s previous work on Happy Hollow and subsequent Cursive records won’t find anything surprising in Adult Film’s tracks, which range from discordant synth to fairly simple piano to picky guitar. The music isn’t boring by any means, but it’s nothing you’ve never heard before, and one gets the impression that it’s there more as an accent to the lyrical content than as a statement on its own.
In all, Adult Film is one of the more back-and-forth records I can remember listening to: back to indifference, forth to hopelessness; back to standard indie-pop, forth to piquant discord; back to The Ugly Organ, forth to, hopefully, some kind of closure. It’s no kind of life-changing album, but if you’ve been moved by Kasher’s work before, odds are good you’ll find something interesting here as well.
– November 4th, 2013 – Brendon Shumate