Breaking the Balls of History by Quasi Album review by Stephan Boissonneault for Northern Transmissions


Breaking the Balls of History


Back in 2013, Quasi, a two-piece garage indie rock band made up of ex-spouses, Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss, dropped the album Mole City, pretty much under the impression that it would be their last. Weiss became the core drummer of Sleater-Kinney and played with Bright Eyes and Coomes bounced from project to project, like Pink Mountain and Built To Spill.

But then, in 2019, Weiss was hit by a car, breaking both her legs and collarbone. As she was recovering, the pandemic appeared. That time in dormancy gave her time to think about what she really wanted to do with music. For her, the future was now, and that future had Quasi in it. Keeping in close contact with Coomes, the two decided to play music together every day in a tiny basement. After a few months of that, they emerged with enough songs for an album. So you could say that this new album from Quasi, titled Breaking the Balls of History, was created by happenstance. That if it wasn’t for the pandemic, it never would have been made.

Which would have been a shame, because this album for the most part, as the kids say, slaps. It sounds like all of the best aspects of that underground Portland proto indie punk rock that Coomes and Weiss are hugely irresponsible for. It’s dark, funny, satirical, and gigantic. It sounds a bit like Pavement, The White Stripes, Neutral Milk Hotel, exploding with the opener “Last Long Laugh,” and it’s heavy fuzzed out harpsichord and guitar lines.

Weiss’ drums are momentous and loud, straight in-the-red punk. On top of that she harmonizes her leathery voice with Coomes’ idiosyncratic one liners like “You don’t have to be Issac Newton, to care at all,” and that sends songs like “Gravity” into the stratosphere.

The title track is raucous and straight to the point, with Coomes screaming “I’d rather be. breaking the balls of history.” He’s not up for going with convention, but cutting through all the pointless dribble with his and Weiss’ music. If only the track was longer, as it only lasts for a minute.

The album is a little long and a few songs kind of blend into each other, but Coomes and Weiss’ ears for melody make it an enjoyable experience, like with “Doomscrollers’,” beautiful organ and Coomes psychedelic lyrics that sum up what’s wrong with this era’s younger generation. But there’s this strange vocal chorus hook with “”blackberry pie, a la mode, black coffee, no tomorrow.” It’s interesting and weird, but accessible indie punk, probably the easiest descriptor of this whole album.

Pre-order Breaking the Balls of History by Quasi HERE


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