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The Good Life

The Good Life is reportedly the product of 12 years worth of songwriting on the part of Cursive vocalist Tim Kasher, which should give you a pretty good indication of the project's intimacy, intensity, and scope. Apparently during those 12 years Kasher has endured a fair amount of pain, because there's an awful lot of it in his emotional songwriting and his laborious, unbeautiful, excruciatingly sincere voice. If you're looking for Cursive's conceptual emo, you won't find it here; Kasher tends more towards dark baroque pop, sometimes of the New Wave synth-driven '80s variety, sometimes of the strangled coffeehouse confessional variety. The music is acoustically oriented, but beautifully nuanced, full of odd sounds and electronics, which provide shadowy accents to the songs' tortured sentiments.

Kasher fleshed out these songs with the help of a large rotating cast of supporting musicians, but the warts and demons here are all his -- as is the often poignant sense of resignation and despair. In other words, while The Good Life is a collective entity, but the irony of its naming is all Kasher's. The Good Life's only LP, Novena on a Nocturn, featuring "A Dim Entrance" and "What We Fall For When We're Already Down," came out on Better Looking Records in 2000. "Tell Shipwreck I'm Sorry" is featured on Better Looking's Holiday Matinee 2 compilation.