First: Quasi's "The Sword of God" is better than 99.9% of releases. Why only three and a half stars then? I just don't feel it quite measures up to the awesome "Featuring Birds" and "Field Studies". That said, "Sword" is an excellent album, one that continues to play on Quasi's considerable strengths: the wold-weary lyrics of Sam Coomes and the awe-inspiring drumming of Janet Weiss. In fact, this is probably Quasi's most musically adventurous album, with the ever-present roxichord,piano, guitar, and even bagpipes showing up in the mix. Lyrically, its a typically Commes-ian affair, with lines like: "Days will pass / any one might be your last / as you chase after your fleeting dreams" and "you've got eternity / a few short years is enough for me". But Coomes also has a great sense of humour, as evidenced in rerlationship observations like "I'm an old baboon / You're a barbery ape / Two different creatures / With a similar shape". As usual, Weiss and Coomes harmonize very well, and Janet's drumming is in top form. She takes lead vocal on two tracks, both of which must be considered highlights ("The Curse of Having it All" and "Nothing, Nowehere"). Quasi is an essential indie band, probably one of the most unique ones out there, and "The Sword of God" is another chapter in thier accomplished career. If you are looking to get initial exposure to Quasi, however, I'd recommend "Birds or "Field Studies" first.