There's something to be said for counseling. Spilling your guts to a licensed therapist in the safe, nurturing confines of an office can be a comforting, necessary step toward a more healthy you. It's unclear if Tim Kasher has ever visited a therapist (it's really not our place to ask), but one gets the impression that music serves as his therapy, his form of catharsis. As the leader of Cursive, Kasher has spent several records dissecting the dissolution of his marriage from just about every conceivable angle, each punishing pronouncement of failure met with an equally punishing dose of guitar, drum and cello.
With The Good Life (the rare "side project" that often outstrips its progenitor), these issues are set against smartly made pop, a wash of keyboards, horns and drum machines. Listeners of 2002's brilliant Black Out entered the haze of the ultimate lost weekend and were dragged through the mire of drunkenness, doubt and desperation. On the recently released Lovers Need Lawyers EP, the Good Life keeps picking at these same scabs, though this time with brightly melodic backdrops and sing-a-long choruses. For all the heavy issues, this isn't sad-sack music -- in the end, we don't pity the protagonist or judge the characters for their continued foibles. We listen, we learn, and we tap our toes. If this is therapy, sign us up.