Quasi – American Gong

Quasi - American Gong

Quasi - American Gong

A bruising and balanced rock album, American Gong breathes live rock and roll. The music rings out heavily, its makers often brooding in place, only to aggressively wrench out chords and rhythms seconds later.

The music makers are Quasi, a practiced and pedigreed band out of Portland, who, as more or less a side project band, has been playing stage one music since 1993. American Gong wastes little, kicking off with “Repulsion”, a quasi-sloppy noise rock all-star boasting a big guitar sound. Here, Quasi cuts loose, sounding comfortable and limber, sugaring their opener with a defiantly harmonic chorus line.

Not everything works. “Bye Bye Blackbird” begins to grate , going too long, perhaps, at over six and a half minutes. But the song doesn’t disappear without first making magic, the most impressive bit coming at about 1:50 into the song when a scalding organ, followed by an equally potent guitar part backed with quaking drums and bass, lay down a rich, moody layer of heaviness.

Same goes for “Black Dogs and Bubbles” , a song in which guitar parts brood vividly and in harmony with a proud and bruising rhythm section that teeters, threatening to fall apart only to recover, gaining in size and strength. The music tells a better story than the lyrics. Vocals often come deadpanned, and this works well with the album’s spirited choruses.

Through and through, American Gong is a dynamic, heavy rock album. So go listen to it.

Shang Dynasty Music (BMI)