Quasi Hot Shit!

After the disappointing prog-addled The Sword of God in 2001, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss have returned to some of the traits that made 1999’s Field Studies such a charming slice of fuzzy keyboard-centric and wordy Beatlesque indie rock. Coomes’s piano playing is loosening up to the point where you can almost detect elements of backwoods sludge funk in the non-ironic "Good Time Rock’n’Roll,” which also has traces of Gord Downie’s new band. The positively eerie "No One” is driven by drunken Mellotron strings, matched by some of Coomes’s most fragile vocals to date. Lyrically, he takes a few unsubtle shots at the Bush administration; otherwise he’s up to his usual tales of broken lives ("Drunken Tears”) and glimpses of hope ("Good Times”). The only curiosity is Weiss’s occasionally clunky drumming, which after her tour de force performance on Sleater-Kinney’s One Beat last year, seems clumsy in comparison. (Touch and Go)