As the frontman for both Nebraskan indie-emo band Cursive and side project the Good Life, Tim Kasher has been performing for nearly two decades. So questions about whether or not this was what his life was meant to be, and why he craved the spotlight in the first place, were perhaps inevitable. Via dual guitar and fuzz-pedaled power-chord rock, the 12 tracks on the Good Life’s latest, Everybody’s Coming Down, let Kasher’s commanding voice—sweetened by bassist Stefanie Drootin-Senseney’s Pixies-like vocal accompaniment—ask such existential questions. “I used to want a future perfect/Now all I want is past,” Kasher sings on “Everybody,” introducing the double vocal tracks and dueling, lightly distorted guitars that carry most the album. “I’m singing for show and tell,” Kasher confesses later on the standout “Troubador’s Green Room.” “Now I’m old and I know the troubadour’s green/And only looks big from the floor of the venue,” he declares alongside surf-rock riffs that careen into plush, Link Wray-style arpeggio breaks. “How Small We Are” airs Kasher’s quintessentially Generation X view that the universe is indifferent, so we should be too. The lyric “When I think of how small we are” builds on a thrilling tension and release, letting Kasher and Drootin-Senseny’s “It’s got me feeling as light…as…air” float unaccompanied, form beautifully matching content. “Flotsam Locked Into a Groove” and the raucous “Holy Shit” briefly quicken the pace of an otherwise slow and meandering album. It’s here that Kasher asks us to ponder why we struggle our whole lives for what little we end up with. The song finds him at his most dour, singing about the eventual end of the world either by a meteor or some “wrecking ball.” He’s right that the troubadour and his feeble attempt at greatness really are small potatoes in an indifferent universe, but at least his band can still manage to make albums worth a few spins.
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