Lo-fi might have begun its resurgence because it’s a cheap and easy style of music to do for those kids out in Brooklyn, but psych-rock is neither of those things, and its own revival has followed closely on that of lo-fi. But psych-rock can often feel indulgent, from youngsters and oldsters. While Quasi’s Mole City does go on too long and has too many tracks, the band thankfully has a sense of humor about things.
The divorced duo of Sam Coomes (QRO interview) and Janet Weiss (previously of Sleater-Kinney, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, currently also of Wild Flag) had released records at an impressive clip, but the last three have come at one every three years, most recently before this with American Gong (QRO review). All that time seems to have stored up material, because Mole City has a total of twenty-four tracks – admittedly, a quarter are sub-minute instrumental interludes, but still a lot on a disc. However, what’s impressive is that the record largely doesn’t wear out its welcome, as Quasi don’t forget about the fun. There’s disheveled, rollicking pian-y on “See You On Mars” and “Fat Fanny Land”, seventies wild & wacky in “Blasted” and “Nostalgia Kills”, and cheery ramble to “Bedbug Town”. Admittedly, Mole City does get somewhat tiresome near its close, with lots of sub-minute instrumental interludes and more meandering sonic experiments (like “New Western Way”), but the ambition isn’t overdone.
Ambition is the hallmark of psych-rock, go big or go home, and that can lead to massive records and massive reputations (for good or ill, earned or unearned). Quasi doesn’t traffic in outsized egos (name another husband-and-wife band that’s survived a divorce…) or cheap-and-quick lo-fi. So here’s to them continuing to travel.