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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Quasi
When the Going Gets Dark
Touch & Go

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 20, 2006
In naming their latest album When the Going Gets Dark, Quasi certainly hit the nail on the head - while some songs have elements of the sideways, sunny piano magic and load-bearing harmonies that came to define the band over the course of their previous efforts, their sixth proper album is a chance to use that blasted raw umber crayon all over the walls. When the Going Gets Dark taps into a new kind of power for Quasi, giving them the opportunity and ambition to skronk and smash.

"Alice the Goon" both begins and symbolizes the album: it picks up with a metallic "Cortez the Killer" vibe, decimating its surroundings, moves to pained diction then breaking harmonies and softening aesthetics. From the ruins it rebuilds greatness, just as we see When the Going Gets Dark has the power to do.

From there, the screeching, uncontrollable "The Rhino," the ghostly presence of "I Don't Know You Anymore," the eerie silent film accompaniment, "Beyond the Sky" and the great, tinny discord of "Presto Change-O" edify the uncomfortable feeling, amplifying the levels of destruction and paranoia. By the time the perpetual motion garage epic, "Death Culture Blues" kicks in, we begin to wonder if trudging away in the insurmountable darkness will yield its reward, but unmistakably it does: freedom and release rise in glimmering moments on every track, humbling us always to the resilience in our spirit.

On two tracks in particular, Coomes and Weiss channel John Lennon's Imagine era, using slanted pop innovation and passionate pleas in an imperative strain toward greatness. "When the Going Gets Dark" and "Peace and Love" utilize the ironic, unattainable truth and simultaneous need to further a drive toward significance, even in a time of great turmoil. The contrast and gradation from darkness to light is inspiring and becomes the disc's lasting legacy.

Going through the chaos feels empowering, and when they turn to hope on the closing "Invisible Star," they come out better for it. The struggle is cleansing, redemptive; it makes them stronger. And when it comes down to it, as perverse as it can be, When the Going Gets Dark is still a lot of fun.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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