Review Summary: Court is in session once more
The first question Sunbathing Animal
asks of the listener is “Does lightning strike twice?” In this case, the album might not be able to summon a brace of electrical storms, but certainly some heavy rain and high winds.
2013’s Light Up Gold
was a vague masterpiece in terms of showing how a really stripped back group can still present some real magic. Given that most of the group are from New York, all of the obvious influences tend be in place; Lou Reed, The Strokes, Ramones, sunglasses indoors, affected detached urban cool.
Essentially, bands like Parquet Courts do well for themselves because, while they might not speak *for* us, they certainly speak *to* us. Most of us have been “Stoned and Starving” after all.
A year of plaudits, fawning and general tomfoolery doesn’t appear to have skewed PQ’s current formula a great deal. Sunbathing Animal
, for the most part, continues from where we left off last year.
The same tricks and ticks are deployed: lyrics that veer across street poetry and post-modern perspectives, music that pinches poses from late-70s new wave and its surrounding genres and the overall sense that, no matter what, you’ll end up as *** on somebody’s shoe eventually.
PQ are at their best when they’re short, sweet and erratic. “Dear Ramona” stands as a tale of the woman we all really want to be with, even if they do leave you tearing your hair and heart out. You know the type: pale, arty, probably had some godawful DeviantArt account stashed away as a teenager.
Or maybe that’s just my tastes. Anyway…
“Vienna II” wraps up all of their best parts in a 1:02 sized package. Weird lyrics, jaunty rhythms and over before you know it.
Elsewhere, “Always Back In Town” and “Ducking & Dodging” are fun, angular exercises in both getting the party started and ruining it. With that in mind, the album’s title track would be the one to tear the building down too; its relentless pace and vortex of noise gets the blood up and refuses to let it down.
The instances where PQ go out of their comfort zone appear here as the record’s lowlights. “She’s Rolling” and “Instant Disassembly” are too long, too unexciting and leaves the album’s vitality swinging loosely like a ballsack in front of your horrified eyes.
But, on the spread of it, two albums in two years, both of more-than-above-average quality provide enough evidence to show that their best might yet come.