Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Parquet Courts

  • Light Up Gold [What's Your Rupture?, 2013] A-
  • Sunbathing Animal [What's Your Rupture?, 2014] A-
  • Human Performance [Rough Trade, 2016] A

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Light Up Gold [What's Your Rupture?, 2013]
The hook on these 14 two-minute songs isn't tunes except occasionally. It's whichever of the two guys who "sing, if you must call it that" comes packing the most anxiety--that is, the one who kicks off "Donuts Only" by whining "Like a red state's Baptist fervor/Like a small town's unsolved murder" like his meds are not quite perfect. Texan refugees whose idea of a vacation is North Dakota, they're stoned and starving in Ridgewood, Queens, where they ended up after concluding that "There are no more summer lifeguard jobs/There are no more art museums to guard." So they're pretty much resigned to giving this drone-rock thing a shot. A-

Sunbathing Animal [What's Your Rupture?, 2014]
Or maybe they are a garage band--one with dreams. Certainly Andrew Savage has succeeded at composing songs with distinct hooks at differing lengths and tempos and constructing an album that reveals more goodies the more you play it. I've stopped wondering about the real-world coordinates of the mamacita whose offer of refuge suffuses the unforgettable seven-minute slow one that gets special play on the back cover, and the title cut is just too fast to be about a cat. But two different songs dis two different women without making Savage sound like a dick. And "Black and White" gets the frenzied compulsion to run out of your skin just right. (Not tight enough for the Buzzcocks.) A-

Human Performance [Rough Trade, 2016]
Figure the all-jam, all-slack Monastic Living for a metal-machine stumble that sets up this crazy-feeling leap forward--not just driven drones, spare tunes, and catchy sprechgesang, but an album where their art dreams for their straight talk come true. "One Man, No City" really does say something about urban alienation, "Captive of the Sun" about megapolitan avantism, "Steady on My Mind" about long love, "Berlin Got Blurry" about missing someone, "Two Dead Cops" about police brutality, "Paraphrased," I mean it, about signification and its disconnects. Uncle Lou would be so proud. Our little garage punks are growing up. A