Quasi's Sam Coomes is A bitter man...

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QUASI’S SAM COOMES IS A bitter man. It’s not because his former Heatmiser bandmate, Elliott Smith, is more famous than him: they’re still mates and he gets a slice of the action by playing in Elliott’s band along with Janet Weiss, Quasi’s drummer. No, Sam is all bent out of shape for the right reasons: because life is shit and other people are bastards.

[I]”You only hurt the one you love/That may be true/But better said, ‘You only hurt the one who loves you'”,[/I] he observes Moz-ishly on ‘The Poisoned Well’, just one of many vituperative lyrical outings that make the Quasi record not only a thing of beauty, but of great bile too. Indeed, ‘Featuring Birds’ is an eloquent soundtrack to a trammelled, 20-nothing life, where menial jobs erode hope and loved ones are the source of [I]”a thousand little cruelties we agree to pretend to ignore”.[/I]

Lyrically, Coomes often seems like the flip side of Smith: the truculent cynic to Smith’s battered dreamer. Their voices are even uncannily similar. But the two bands are musically distinct: Quasi’s groove being largely constructed of battered organ and drumkit, with guitar and the odd violin soldered on. So Quasi career emotively between Hammond wig-outs, naked piano chords and subversive guitar pop ditties, buoyed by the vicious drumming of Weiss, the busiest drummer in alt-rock (she’s also in Sleater-Kinney).

Bitter they may be; but Quasi remain inspirationally unbowed.