Release Date: Mar 21, 2006
Record label: Touch & Go / Domino
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
For their seventh album, Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes decided to forgo the bells and whistles and focus on what really makes Quasi Quasi: the two of them. To do this, they stick to their straightforward piano/guitar/drums combo (which doesn't mean, however, that this is a back-to-basics lo-fi record; there's still a lap steel and various layered keyboard synthesizers and sound effects -- including bells and whistles -- in there) and When the Going Gets Dark finds the duo very focused and musically solid, resulting in the seemingly incongruous combination of a clean, well-played album with a messy, muddy sound. Weiss is great on the drums, attacking rock beats head on and adding aggressive fills, and Coomes is a more than respectable guitar and keys player; his overdriven Fender is percussive and expressive, and his acoustic piano can change from almost sloppy chord-pounding to free jazz riffing.
For the overwhelming majority of popular music, the focal point is on vocals and lyrics. Disparate instrumental musics can be approached in many different ways, with different people finding different points of focus. Add vocals, though, and suddenly nearly everybody will focus on them. Thus there is nothing which can polarize an audience more quickly than how a band approaches their vocals.