Breaking the Balls of History

(Sub Pop)


Until recently, the term lo-fi conjured up thoughts of warped tape ramblings and walls of crackling treble. Then one day, without any warning, the sands of sound shifted, and the term became all about chilled-out hip-hop and background beats. Breaking the Balls of History, the tenth album by Quasi, attempts to take lo-fi into its third era, one that, on the face of things, has nothing to do with either previous iteration of the sound.

In many ways, the high production values and wonky pop sensibilities of opener ‘Last Long Laugh’ pushes hard against everything that lo-fi stands for, yet somehow, due to Quasi’s endearing nursery rhyme innocence, the track ends up feeling bizarrely lo-fi in its delivery. 

This surreal, almost counter-intuitive tactic is used throughout the album. With any other band, tracks like ‘Riot & Jokes’ and ‘Doomscrollers’ would be thought of as pure psychedelic weirdness, but under the masterful watch of Quasi they are lifted above generic genre labels. The duo’s unique lackadaisical playfulness pushes their music away from the normal towards something that is distinctly lo-fi in attitude, if not sound.

By doing this, with Breaking the Balls of History, Quasi have shown that these days lo-fi is nothing more than a state of mind.