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Friday, April 22, 2016

Human Performance

I've heard about Parquet Courts for a couple of years--they're critic's darlings--but I hadn't actually heard much of their music. I decided to try their latest disc, Human Performance, and it's okay, with a couple of catchy numbers and loose, goofy feel to it that makes them sound like they're not really taking it all seriously.

Consider the opening track, "Dust," which is about, well, dust:

"It comes through the window,
It comes through the floor
It comes the roof and it comes through door
Dust is everywhere

In some ways this album sounds like a mixture of The Kingsmen and The Mothers of Invention, as there is a winking nonchalance, mostly in the vocals, which is credited to all the band members. Another song in that vein is "Captive of the Sun," which may be about sound equipment:

"My misophonia brought the faders up
Now she's military grade
In Dolby Surround
Around 5.1"

My favorite track on the album is the toe-tapping "One Man, No City," which is a guy struggling with his identity:

"Where I'm from,
No one lived there
I look back now--nothing's changed
Where I'm from now
Still no one lives there
Look back again and lock the door
I maintain, I still remain
One man solitary
And no city."

The sound is a kind of post-punk (a phrase that seems to be apply to every rock band these days) and garage-rock, with a jangly quality. There's some surf rock in there (especially the Spaghetti Western variety) and some shoegaze stuff, which doesn't work as well. The typical slow, dirge-like last song of the album is "It's Gonna Happen," and it doesn't really.

If I were in my twenties I'd go see this band live, as there is a fun that comes through, but of course I can't go to concerts anymore that start after 10 o'clock, and I'm betting these guys don't at least come on until eleven.

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