American Gong

American Gong
Composer: Quasi
Conductor: Quasi
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Release Date: 2010-03-03
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

Three and out is the weird career pattern for Oregon’s Quasi. Their first three records — their career peak — were on the now-defunct Up Records. They shifted to Touch & Go for the next round of three. That triumvirate got progressively darker, finally plumbing the depths with the nearly unlistenable When the Going Gets Dark in 2006. That tuneless, joyless affair suggested some sort of rebirth was in order. It has arrived in the form of American Gong. Frontman Sam Coomes turns in his finest batch of songs since 1999’s Field Studies and approaches the guitar with Crazy Horse abandon. Even sadder numbers, like the stunning “Black Dogs and Bubbles,” are delivered with far more vitality and passion than the band was able to muster on the pissy 2003 Hot Shit. There’s a rewarding mixture of tone and approach throughout, with the dire “Death Is Not the End” followed by the rave-up “Rockabilly Party.” With their Touch & Go years having been so touch and go, it’s surprising and satisfying that Quasi’s third career trimester begins on such a positive and rewarding note. — Chris Drabick