Heh. “Adult”. Good one.
Saddle Creek, 2013
2.3 / 10
As much as the Earbuddy collective has ragged on him, we don’t hate the idea of Tim Kasher—dude is one of the few folks who has made a go at bringing sophistication and bigger concepts to emo, a genre that leans towards simpler ideas. We just wish that the resulting music was, you know, consistently good. Or consistent. Or, fuck, varied: we get it, man, you got married too young and made a lot of mistakes, but the well was starting to run dry shortly after the first time you went looking for water, and that was thirteen years ago.
So Adult Film is the Tim Kasherest rock album that Tim Kasher has ever made, complete with the Tim Kasher character who doubles as narrator and antagonist who constantly wonders if he is missing the point of his own life story, which was most of the point of The Ugly Organ, which is ten years old. The album is about how art is hard and Kasher has had a tough life and he regrets taking English Lit because it taught him the wrong lessons and how his wife cheated on him and how he probably cheated on her or wished that he cheated on her and how Kasher is truly freaking out and bleurgh. If you have heard a Tim Kasher album, you’ve heard this one, but this represents Kasher at his most repugnant and insufferable. His past stories worked because they were relatable anecdotes driven by naivety and emotions. Here, Kasher talks about how he has fucked up over and over without any hint that he might change his ways, and that gets old by the end of the opening track.
To be sure, this isn’t the first Kasher album to go overboard with personal drama, but this is the first time that Kasher has pulled this stunt without a game backing band or any great tricks up his sleeve. Cursive, for all of their faults, could never be accused of lacking in technical chops or pop instincts, and the backing compositions saved more than one overdramatic work. Kasher, however, opts for bland keyboards and predictable instrumentation—the phrase that comes to mind is “Reggie and the Full Effect, but serious(ly boring)”. There are moments where Kasher stumbles on a great musical idea, such as the hook for “A Raincloud Is a Raincloud” and…oh, wait, that’s pretty much it. If you’re looking for good tunes, look elsewhere. Come to think of it, if you are looking for good lyrics or good concepts or good singing, this isn’t the album for you. The only people who might get something out of Adult Film are those who receive an endorphin rush from hearing Kasher’s voice, and even if that describes you, I’ve got to hope that there is a better way to get that high.