Quasi, Not Half-Assed

“Don’t believe a word I sing, cause it’s only a song and it don’t mean a thing.” Lightly riding oceanic currents of instrumentation, these cheerfully intoned lyrics challenge the listener.

How could you not want these songs to mean something? In their fourth Quasi album, Field Studies, the divorced duo of Sam Coomes and Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss present textured musical daydreams interlaced with ambiguous poeticism and silly stories, which sound (excuse the historical clichй) a bit like the Beatles. (A good thing, obviously, since the album hit number 10 on Billboard’s college charts.)

Sluggish chords and sounds of strings, organs, a theremin, and guitars seem to ooze from the speakers, whipped into some sort of order only through the neatly precise drumbeats.

Some songs have carnival whimsy, others boast the determinism of anthems, obscured by the strangeness of the wording, which is mostly about separation, bleakness and long, long good-byes.

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