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Quasi

Hot Shit (Touch And Go)

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Judging from the braggadocio inherent in this album's name, Quasi's Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes -- also Sleater-Kinney's drummer and a musical amigo of Built to Spill and the late Elliott Smith, respectively -- must think highly of their fifth record. Unfortunately, the duo doesn't back up this bravado with the mind-blowing music expected of the expletive-charged title. The beat-poet, anti-Shrubya vitriol injection "White Devil's Dream" and the toddler-banging-on-a-piano interlude on the Led Zeppelinesque "Mama Tried" feel amateurish, like a wobbly art-school thesis hastily thrown together. Furthermore, for every top-notch lyric (Life without love is all the hell you need), Shit contains a needlessly obscure clunker (In the vicinity of infinity, on a giant lead balloon, on our way to the silvery moon, you got your crocodile boots). The best tracks exhibit a sense of eerie unease (the ragged organ and rickety twang of the title track and the obsessive keyboard ooze on "No One") or temper experimental noodling with actual song structure, as on the bluesy "Sunshine Sounds." Otherwise, Shit feels more like a steaming, unfortunate mess than something brilliant to write home about.

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