Synth-heavy American indie
For fans of side projects by less interesting members of modest American indie groups, Quasi represent the acme of counter-cultural cool. A duo of Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss and Elliott Smith bassist Sam Coomes, their occasional outings as Quasi allow them the opportunity to escape from the various oppressions of [I]über[/I]-fem scratchy indie and ‘bit like Neil Young’ singer-songwriterdom.
‘The Sword Of God’ is their fifth excursion into proper, semi-ironic pop music, and at various points sounds remarkably like Ben Folds Five, The Webb Brothers and, perversely enough, disturbed early-’90s cheese-fiends, Denim.
Powered by Coomes’ keyboards and occasional eye for a stinging couplet, ‘The Sword Of God’ beats a shambling path across the wasteland of American indie-dom, lobbing grenades in the direction of Disneyland (‘Fuck Hollywood’) and biology labs (‘Genetic Science’) without quite dispelling the sour scent of self-satisfaction.
Fundamentally, ‘The Sword Of God’ is a record that fumbles desperately at the door of greatness but can’t quite get the key to fit. It tries hard, it’s got some excellent songs on it, but it’s just slightly too smarmy for its own good. A must for all Magnetic Fields fans, but as good as this is, Quasi remain capable of better.