Quasi The Sword of God

With Sleater-Kinney on hiatus, it'd be nice to know that drummer Janet Weiss will be touring a great Quasi record. Alas, the new album by Weiss and musical partner/songwriter Sam Coomes falls short of its excellent predecessor, Field Studies. Despite some progression in the arrangements, the fuzzy keyboards sound same-y and Coomes's lyrics don't pack the same sardonic punch as before. A couple of songs hit a fine stride ("Genetic Science," "The Curse of Having It All"), and the album closes with a surreal marriage of bagpipes and a Rolling Stones riff on a song called "Rock & Roll Can Never Die." Still, The Sword of God sounds pretty good next to Early Recordings, a rough and tumble affair that even hardcore fans will find hard to sit through. Demo-ish, unfinished material like this usually only sees the light of day if you're Bruce Springsteen or Lou Barlow, but Coomes is neither. (Touch and Go)