Laura Sinagra
September 19, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

This Portland, Ore., duo was doing the two-piece divorce-rock thing before the White Stripes made it MTV News-worthy. On their sixth CD, multi-instrumentalist Sam Coomes’ wounded falsetto and Sleater-Kinney thumper Janet Weiss’ punk insistence surge confidently from slacker regret (”Seven Years Gone”) to pointed Bush-bashing (”White Devil’s Dream”). Its moodiness is bolstered by Beatlesque shimmer, orchestral swell, and warm electronic blurt. Though things can get a bit maudlin, Quasi’s tough-love hipster blues have a raw, lived-in charm.

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