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    When the Going Gets Dark

    Thu, 23 Mar 2006 12:11:10

    Album Reviews: When the Going Gets Dark by Quasi

    It's not totally unfair to suggest that Quasi works within the schtick of a two-piece pop band that makes a huge sound (the band's publicists are always more than happy to mention it). Multi-instrumentalist Sam Coomes regularly bashes away at both piano and guitar in a single song, both acting as scruffy foils to the singer's untrained but appealing voice. The other half of the Portland, OR-based Quasi is Janet Weiss, drummer for Sleater-Kinney, who is no stranger to bashing out a tune herself. Over the course of nearly ten years and half a dozen releases, the duo has clearly expressed a knack for coming up with a full, broad sound, often making what might most accurately be considered a racket.

    On the band's last album, Hot Sh*t, the racket was placed alongside melodic, occasionally-soft songcraft, which fit nicely within the more noisy elements, making for a varied mix of tunes. The album was also permeated with Coomes' political criticisms of the War on Terror, a poignant (and often humorous, if unfocused) voice of indie rock's take on the early years of the invasion of Iraq. Nearly three years on, Coomes' political statements have become more frustrated and, ultimately, less articulate. The sound of frustration is all over this album, as songs are furiously pounded out, with little of the sweet melodic sensibility present on previous releases. - Cory O'Malley

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