While 2013 presented itself as a canvas for well established artists like Kanye West and Arcade Fire to cement themselves within musical folklore for many years to come, it also acted as the springboard for many excellent and revelatory debuts from young, hungry and exciting bands and artists. At the forefront of those was Parquet Courts’ Light Up Gold, a manifesto of that band’s style, mood and ethos presented in the most succinct and compact way possible.
Actually Parquet Courts burst on to the scene in late 2012 with a sharp wit and guitars as rough as your head in the morning after a particularly gruesome night out on the tiles. On top of their flawless debut, their EP, Tally All the Things That You Broke, built upon the NYC well-read bohemian stoner vibe that the best Light Up Gold cuts flaunted with bombastic ease.
“Sunbathing Animal” – the title track from their recently announced second record and one of my most anticipated albums of the year to come (out June 3) – has Andrew Savage and his rag tag bunch of noise mongers completely explode out of the traps and present their promises for a second term in the gloriously thrown together manner we’d expect. However, there is no cause for bandying about the terms “slackers” or “layabouts”, as Parquet Courts march through a hardcore blast furnace of dueling guitars and relentless pounding rhythms.
From the initial count in that seems like it’s over in under a second through its near four minute running time to the final repetitive chant of the title, the simplest of melodies burrows into the forefront of your brain while the squalling lead guitars fight with each other and your speakers. It is heavier and more urgent than anything on their debut, and it succeeds in letting you know that Parquet Courts – before they were lauded as the sort of anti-hipster intelligentsia with a rock band – like to make a lot of noise.
Savage returns with a biting snarl that is as rapid pace as the music that backs him. That Lou Reed-toned word trickery is unmistakably unique within modern Indie Rock music, and the way they have fused the heavier aspects of hardcore and punk with the melodic tendencies of softer, mellower indie rock works an unfathomably better amount than the aforementioned late Reed could ever have hoped when he spliced himself into the DNA of Metallica.
Without breaking into a long scrawl of platitudinous hyperbole, “Sunbathing Animal” reminded me just how interesting Parquet Courts were amongst their peers. While their sonic output hasn’t let up in terms of their prolificacy, it was nice to have my attention once again drawn to them with the almighty crash of cymbals and buzz of feedback. Roll on June 3.
Pre-Order: Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal (iTunes)
Words by Tony Inglis