Parquet Courts have returned with yet another remarkable effort which easily solidifies their status as one of the most prolific American rock bands – churning out record after record of smart and conscious rock ‘n roll music.
Led by wordsmiths and technically proficient vocalists/guitarists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, Parquet Courts are a New York band who have been polishing and refining their sound since the dawn of the decade, and this time they even receive a little assistance from the legendary Jeff Tweedy.
Although ‘Human Performance‘ won’t exactly bring an end to the constant comparisons to Pavement and the Velvet Underground, Parquet Courts have undeniably blazed their very own special trail in less than five years. The album begins with the first single, ‘Dust‘ — an ominous, minimal opener which generates feelings of paranoia and claustrophobia in listeners with its verses warning us of the inevitability of dust invading our environment and instructing us to “Sweep!” until the song builds into a sonic torrent and the sound of car horns honking maddeningly.
Following ‘Dust‘ is the title track and the most recent single released from the album. ‘Human Performance‘ is easily one of the most wistful and affecting songs Parquet Courts have ever done and it perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the album’s stirring 21st century vignettes on fears, paranoia and lost love.
‘One Man, No City‘ is another classic 5+ minute Parquet Courts guitar rock jam in the vein of their previous works, ‘Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth‘, ‘She’s Rolling‘ and ‘Stoned And Starving‘ (one of the songs that first gained Parquet Courts considerable attention and even their first ever television performance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” in early 2014).
‘Berlin Got Blurry‘ is another stand-out single released from the album that even includes a genially-placed western-style riff repeated throughout the song which calls back to Parquet Courts’ primarily Texan roots and lyrics which touch on the feeling of doomed love and, according to Savage, “saying goodbye to someone from the other side of the world”. Finally, ‘It’s Gonna Happen‘ brings the album to a touching, meditative end with Savage sounding as despondent and reflective as ever and the rest of the band contributing to the song’s day-dreamy, pondering atmosphere.
‘Human Performance‘ is one of 2016’s must-hear albums and Parquet Courts have created another tremendous work worth getting lost in and worthy of discussing with others. Aside from the mixed bag of their debut ‘American Specialties‘ (originally a cassette-only release) and last year’s polarizing, discordant and largely instrumental noise rock EP ‘Monastic Living‘, Parquet Courts continue their winning streak of unrelenting and masterful art punk that began with their explosive 2012 release ‘Light Up Gold‘. This is essential music.