Quasi has yet to replicate their incredible live sound on record. Only 'R&B Transmogrification' comes close, although it is far too dry sounding. On this album Sam Coomes, once again, churns out some great melodies and great rhymes. However, much of the kick of the two previous albums are missing--which means that the sounds here are far removed from the burst of noise that one hears at a live Quasi show. For the great songs this album is lacking 1) the noise (the absence of the roxichord is evident on this album) and 2) Janet's versatile and kinetic drumming (ex. 'our happiness' on 'Featuring 'birds'').
The most effective songs here feature Elliott Smith on bass. His playing is, as always, very tuneful. And in the tradition of Led Zeppelin, Quasi has released 'Birds,' the supposedly featured track of the previous album, an album later (see 'Houses of the Holy). One false note is the obnoxiously long 'A Fable with No Moral.' As the title states: this song goes nowhere. This song should have been subtitled 'Empty Words.'
But despite my reservations, Quasi is infectious. The album ends with a gorgeous ballad ('Let's Just Go') that ends abruptly and we are left with the buzzing sound of the amps before the plug is pulled.
Go check 'em out live...