The lo-fi rock duo of Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss turns in the loosest, most freewheeling album of its career on The Sword of God.

The lo-fi rock duo of Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss turns in the loosest, most freewheeling album of its career on The Sword of God. While the band's signature sound of fuzzed out keyboards, pounding drums, sunny hooks, and dark lyrics are all in place once again, Coomes and Weiss place less emphasis on tight pop structures. Instead they play with a mangier, almost bar-band feel that puts an increased focus on the vibe of each song. The result is longer, more open-ended tracks, several featuring extended instrumental passages, as on the album high point "Seal the Deal." Still intact, thankfully, is Quasi's brooding, bitterly sarcastic worldview, highlighted on tracks like "Fuck Hollywood" and "Little Lord Fontleroy." For Quasi fans, this latest outing may not trump the indie-pop bliss of 1998's beloved Featuring "Birds", but nonetheless The Sword of God is an extremely intelligent, satisfying effort that ranks as one of the better rock albums released thus far this year.—BG

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