Parquet Courts — Sunbathing Animal
∏→ Skupina právě zakončila 16-ti zastávkové turné po Evropě a zítra ho končí úplně. Album je vysoce hodnocené: Larry Fitzmaurice dává 8.6. Pokud hledáte něco "nového", nebudete to asi hledat zde, a to je naprosto v pořádku: Andrew Savage je především stylista s velkým citem pro humor a několika reminiscencemi najednou. Texty mohou být tajnou zbraní Parquet Courts: "Smrt všem falešným prorokům / tady budeme chválit dolar." Celé to funguje jako moderní převyprávění rhythm and blues. A připomíná dobu, kdy britské kapely z 60. let přijali názory s energií a vášní, s přetlakem, protože vznáší a straší, s rytmy, aktivujícími posluchače k pohybu. Ale konečné výsledky ukazují jasný vývoj, s písněmi, které zní mnohem agresivněji a mají více melancholie než cokoli, o co se kapela pokusila předtím. Našla už kapela podstatu všeho trápení? Určitě našla svěží a nový způsob, jak zpívat blues.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: June 3, 2014
Record Label: What's Your Rupture? / Mom & Pop
01. Bodies 3:21
02. Black And White 3:03
03. Dear Ramona 2:35
04. What Color Is Blood 3:25
05. Vienna II 1:02
06. Always Back In Town 2:38
07. She's Rollin 6:33
08. Sunbathing Animal 3:52
09. Up All Night 1:02
10. Instant Disassembly 7:12
11. Ducking & Dodging 4:29
12. Raw Milk 4:00
13. Into The Garden 3:01
14. Black And White (7-Inch Version) 3:05
≡ Andrew Savage — vocals, guitar
≡ Austin Brown — vocals, guitar
≡ Sean Yeaton — bass guitar
≡ Max Savage — drums, percussion
≡ Austin Brown Guitar, Vocals
≡ Lea Cho Harmonica
≡ Joe LaPorta Mastering
≡ Andrew Savage Artwork, Guitar, Vocals
≡ Max Savage Percussion
≡ Jonathan Schenke Engineer, Mixing
≡ Traditional Composer
≡ Sean Yeaton Bass
≡ 2014 The Billboard 200 #55
≡ 2014 Top Independent Albums #10
≡ 2014 Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums #14
≡ 2014 Top Rock Albums #14
♣ "Much as Light Up Gold & the subsequent EP Tally All The Things That You Broke offered a uniquely tattered perspective on everyday life, Sunbathing Animal applies the same layered thoughts and sprawling noise to more cerebral, inward-looking themes. While heightened in its heaviness and mania, the album also represents a huge leap forward in terms of songwriting and vision."
♣ Dans la lignée du précédent, en un peu moins incisif.
By Larry Fitzmaurice; June 4, 2014; Score: 8.6
♣ Andrew Savage is, above all, a stylist. Before he came to be known as the yawpy mouthpiece co-fronting Brooklyn indie rock outfit Parquet Courts, he was one-half of Denton, Tx. duo Fergus & Geronimo, where he and bandmate Jason Kelly made the type of reference-heavy experimental rock that was practically designed to catch the ears of rock nerds as much as it was bound to confound casual passersby. Their sense of humor and slavish devotion to past sounds was reminiscent of Ween, if Ween wrote songs about parasitic music writers and trust-fund hippies. 2011's Unlearn opened with a song called "Girls With English Accents" (try and guess what it was about); the following year's Funky Was the State of Affairs kicked off with Savage and Kelly doing the best "'Allo, guv'nor" affectations they could muster. Funky was a sorta-concept album that carried thematic allusions to Funkadelic's Maggot Brain while sometimes resembling if Gang of Four covered "Peter Gunn" in double time. © Credit: Seth Meyers
♣ It only took two albums for the delightfully, inscrutably weird Fergus & Geronimo to sound like they were running out of steam, and by the time Funky Was the State of Affairs saw release, Savage had put up roots in New York City and was wielding the influences of his new home in Parquet Courts. The band's debut release, the 2011 cassette American Specialties, featured cover art ripped from the light-box Chinese restaurant menus that are ubiquitous throughout the city; the following year's Light Up Gold paired musings about pushy street-team clipboard-brandishers and being stoned in Queens over music smacking of the literate, nervy rock music that emerged after punk's first wave burned out in the late 1970s.
♣ In interviews, Savage hasn't been shy about his aspirations to claim a place in NYC's considerable rock lineage. Inarguably, the city hasn't seen a unified, geographically-defining scene emerge since the days of Julian and Karen, so Parquet Courts sound less like a "New York band" than they resemble a band that carries qualities that people have associated with New York bands of years past — structural slackness paired with paranoid energy, topped off with a sense of wit that exudes book-smarts as much as it smacks of smart-assedness.
♣ On their third and best album, Sunbathing Animal, they continue to expand their musical horizons by offering more of their own takes on older sounds: there are sonic nods to the spiky energy of Wire circa Pink Flag, the Velvet Underground's relentless chug, Television's more straightforward moments of elegance, Bob Dylan's braying ramble, surf rock's angular riffs filtered through amphetamine-poisoned blood. Most surprisingly, the loping "Dear Ramona" comes off as a post-collegiate update of frat-rock luminaries Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket", swapping the latter's shiny fingernails and cupholder armrests for black coffee and moleskine notebooks.
♣ Above all, the spectre of sly-smile indie-rock kings Pavement looms over Sunbathing Animal, more so in execution than in explicit resemblance. If Light Up Gold carried the dashed-off basement charm of Slanted and Enchanted, then Sunbathing Animal is Parquet Courts' Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, a record that focuses more on structure as the band deploys melodic tricks with greater subtlety and precision. Crooked Rain still stands as the Stockton-hailing Pavement's most West Coast-sounding album, and the humidity of Sunbathing Animal similarly calls back to Parquet Courts' Texan roots, its wide-open sprawl sounding freed of the band's explicitly urban trappings.
♣ Recorded over the course of three days, the propulsive energy of Light Up Gold sometimes resembled a quartet of short-distance runners about to collide into each other, limbs akimbo, while reaching the finish line. Sunbathing Animal, then, sounds like the work of long-distance pavement-pounders who have learned when to store up energy, and when to release it. As an album, it's impeccably structured, with the slow-burn cuts placed in just the right places to break up the band's steady crunch; Parquet Courts' newfound sense of control works in miniature, too, as evidenced by the coiled guitar breakdowns on opener "Bodies Made Of" and the back half of "Black & White", where the band's scraping choogle spins out into freewheeling zonked-out noise before pulling back to reveal a shimmying rhythmic duckwalk, anchored by hand claps.
♣ The increased focus of pacing on Sunbathing Animal means that, at first blush, it's a less immediate album than its predecessor; at 46 minutes, it's a little less than a quarter-hour longer than Light Up Gold, and there's a few extended jams — the molasses-tumble of "She's Rolling" and "Instant Disassembly"'s folksy ramble both go beyond the six-minute mark — that take cues from the anti-anthem "He's Seeing Paths", from last year's Tally All the Things That You Broke EP. The hooks are stronger and more distinct, though, in the sense that Sunbathing Animal registers as 13 separate songs, a change from Light Up Gold's energizing blur. The guitar work, courtesy of co-frontmen Savage and Austin Brown, is clever and accomplished without being too showy; in their hands, the instruments squeak, saunter, and roar, sometimes simultaneously. On the title track and the album's most aggressive cut, the duo merge to create an impenetrable wall of strings, soloing recklessly underneath each other as drummer Max Savage (brother to Andrew) bashes away in a manner reminiscent of a specific, not-always-sunbathing animal.
♣ "Sunbathing Animal" is four minutes of impassioned fury that doubles as a solid punk tune and as a speed-addled take on pre-Beatles rock'n'roll — but forget the video, all you need is the lyric sheet to tell that Savage is singing from the perspective of a housecat. "I want to flee/ But I can only stare," he laments furiously, one of many times that he and Brown get lyrically weird on Sunbathing Animal. The sloganeering and sneering found on Light Up Gold is gone, along with most notions of straightforwardness, as the closest either singer gets to clarity is on the back-from-touring grievance-list "Always Back in Town". Otherwise, the lyrics are stranger, more elliptical, less "Stoned and Starving" and more just plain stoned. "What color is blood?/ Still the same that it was?," Savage yells over the ascending strut of "What Color Is Blood", taking on the bug-eyed paranoia of David Byrne circa More Songs About Buildings and Food; on "Instant Disassembly", he conflates love, anxiety, and protection before admitting that the firmament containing those virtues is in serious decay: "There's nothing left to dismantle/ The house it just collapsed on itself."
Yet again recalling Pavement in their glory days, Parquet Courts remain inscrutable even as their talents grow, a band less willing to show their hand as they are interested in describing why hands are such weird body parts to begin with. The closest thing Savage offers as far as a lyrical clue to the band's general mindset is buried in the middle of "Instant Disassembly": "Turn on the white noise murmur of the AM band/ And the last classic rock band's last solid record creeps in." The couplet could, in a way, be a joke about the permanence of musical obsolescence — but it doubles as a mission statement, too, as Parquet Courts are a band using the past to write their own version of the present. If you're looking for something "new," you aren't going to find it here, and that's totally okay: Sunbathing Animal's considered, whip-smart rock revivalism is a work of substantial growth from a band that already did "simple" quite well, placing Parquet Courts in their own distinct weight class.
By DOUG MOSUROCK, May 25, 201411:03 PM ET
By ROB SHEFFIELD, JUNE 3, 2014, SCORE: ****
By Jason Gubbels, June 2 2014, 4:34 PM ET, Score: 8/10
♣ Allmusic.com: http://www.allmusic.com/album/sunbathing-animal-mw0002646476
• American Specialties (2011)
• Light Up Gold (2012)
• Sunbathing Animal (2014) #55 US
• Tally All the Things That You Broke (2013)