Parquet Courts

Sunbathing Animal

What's Your Rupture?/Mom+Pop

May 30, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands Bookmark and Share


With their third full-length, Parquet Courts seemed at a precipice. They'd released a well-received album that had gotten national attention in Light Up Gold, and a blistering EP just a year later. They were known for their snotty, shambling punk songs that somehow seem both virtuosic and stoned, along with a lo-fi approach that suited their dirty hooks. But that kind of album means sky-high expectations for a follow-up. So what kind of follow-up is Sunbathing Animal? Is it cleaned up, devoid of charm? Is it more of the same?

Well, yes. It's cleaned up, more of the same but filled to the brim with charm. The improved production and mixing doesn't take away from the lackadaisical feelopener "Bodies" seems designed to put to rest any fears about the band growing up and getting boring with a repeated refrain of "slugs and guts." But the band has also grown in exciting waysthe title track, a centerpiece for the album, pushes a driving beat for almost four minutes but is never exhausting, something Light Up Gold didn't do ("Stoned and Starving" aside), and "Instant Disassembly" is a seven-plus (!) minute mid-tempo ballad that is the band's likeliest candidate for new singalong at shows. There are still snappy slacker punk numbers ("Duckin and Dodgin" is sure to inspire at least some light moshing) but they're joined by songs like "Dear Ramona" that are like some kind of Pavement-meets-Velvet Underground marriage that reveal a hereto-fore-unseen tenderness in the band.

Sunbathing Animal is a little long for an album like this (13 songs of music that takes a lot of unwrapping can be exhausting) but the effect is overall excellent. If this is what it looks like when punks grow up, Parquet Courts seem to be doing just fine. (www.parquetcourts.wordpress.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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