All the blog-praise you might have heard is true. This quick, darting punk-pop is just the best thing to come out of Brooklyn since…well, the last thing. Parquet Courts are exhilarating, intoxicating and fun, offering us 14 cuts that run from Pavement slacker-pop to Tyvek-style propellant-punk and a Modern Lovers-like rock’n’roll commentary on popular culture. You might already know Andrew Savage, who migrated to New York from Denton, Texas, from his time in Fergus & Geronimo but Parquet Courts are consistently great in a way that F&G could only manage sporadically.
This, their second album is really take-off for Parquet Courts. Their American Splendour (Play Pinball Records), if you’ve been fortunate enough to hear it, is much more a set of ideas in progress, a transition between F&G and the Parquet Courts’ sound, experimental and interesting but not fully realised (and certainly owing something to Pere Ubu and the Fall).
Light Up Gold introduces adrenalin to your system and keeps it circulating from the off. The mighty ‘Borrowed Time’ is a galloping sprint of catchy pop with a brilliant false ending while ‘Careers in Combat’ is their take on the Clash’s ‘Career Opportunities’, thematically at least, with their punk-pop protest at job openings: “there are no more art museums to guard…but there are still careers in combat, my son” . Malkmus, Berman and the original Pavement crew were famously art museum custodians on their New York arrival, and there’s a clear trail that links Parquet Courts to the Stockton band, with similar crazy rhythms and surreal worldview. ‘N Dakota’ has the sort of Malkmussian way with words that’s both smart and funny, commenting on “post-Nordic grinning/ tired and toothless” while ‘Stoned and Starving’ is brutally funny with an addictive longform rhythm, lasting an unusual 5 minutes (most of Parquet Courts’ songs are brutally short).
Scientists say that food manufacturers have secretly and legally got us hooked on sweet, salty snacks so our brains crave like heroin the hit of unhealth that these consumables deliver. Parquet Courts won’t obesify their listeners but their sharp and sparky take on pop is frighteningly addictive and you can see this band becoming ubiquitous for all the right reasons this year.