Music Reviews


The Sword of God

Touch And Go

I’ve grown used to this, and now can approach each new Quasi album as an old hand. While all have developed into their own picture, like a Polaroid, the process of development and discovery is an interesting experience of its own, as I watch the individual songs spring forth from the fuzzed piano and clever-wristed drumming like faces and objects from the grey wash.

Chief songwriter Sam Coomes, the man behind the keys and the languorous vocals, would be the world’s biggest Goth if he didn’t have the wits about him to turn every bit of dank misery into a beautifully-colored irony. In contrast, Janet Weiss taps and prods at the drums with joy and precision. Her occasional vocal harmonies and turns at songwriting make it plan that though Coomes takes front stage most of the time, the two stand shoulder-to-shoulder on talent.

This balance and tension results in tracks like “It’s Raining,” where a headlong rush with Coomes roxichord (a sort of distorted electric piano sound) is wrapped up nicely with lyrics like “I can’t tell you when/ This storm is going to end/ So go ahead and cry/ But that won’t keep you dry.” The drums and roxichord interplay in the three-minute introduction to “Seal The Deal” is a Quasi fireworks show, with Coomes blasting out gobbets of harmony and fuzz as Weiss drops in more fills than Ringo has rings. When the last charge explodes, we’re left with a mounting riff, a smoldering melody and glorious chordal washes and vocal harmonies.

“Little Lord Fontleroy” marches with a steady beat that never wavers despite the cloud-busting sunshine of the chorus and the somewhat cynical and very much amused twinge of recognition and jealousy in the lyrics. “Nothing, Nowhere,” is a very pensive moment, as glorious chords pump out of a grand piano and Janet Weiss’ voice cuts through the reverberation like a siren in the darkness.

What can I say – every Quasi album has grown to become an overwhelming favorite of mine, and The Sword of God is no exception. Music and meaning abound inside.

Touch And Go, PO Box 25520, Chicago, IL 60625

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