Music » CD Reviews

Quasi

The Sword of God (Touch and Go)

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The Sword of God, Quasi's fifth album, contains the same tenderness and turbulence that audiences have come to expect from emocore's pedigreed ex-lovers. Former husband and wife Sam Coomes (bassist for Elliott Smith) and Janet Weiss (drummer for Sleater-Kinney) previously played together in Motorgoat and formed Quasi in Portland, Oregon, in 1993 as an outlet for their unique brand of delicately structured, intricately orchestrated songs about lost love and broken promises. From genetic science to goblins, apes, and Argonauts, Coomes and Weiss touch on a variety of subjects, all the while pairing maudlin lyrics with upbeat melodies.

The poppy "It's Raining," for example, relies upon simple chord progressions reminiscent of any wholesome early '50s doo-wop song, but finds Coomes in a particularly dour mood as he sings, "So go ahead and cry/But that won't keep you dry." His vocal performance also produces an eerie shiver in "Better Luck Next Time," a song about suicide. Coomes isn't alone in exploring his dark side. On "The Curse of Having It All," written by Weiss and one of the most haunting and heartfelt tracks on the album, she makes allusions to her ex-husband when she sings "Hostile and sad/He made her turn bad." While it's likely she's singing about Coomes, the song works on another level that goes beyond the personal, because it's also about the co-dependent craving that lurks deep in the heart of everyone. Often compared to Elliott Smith, Quasi has found something it can call its own on The Sword of God, an album whose disparate themes include anger and restraint, romance and aversion, hope and despair.

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