Sure, Parquet Courts can rip through punk songs with some of the best indie bands of today with Andrew Savage and Austin Brown raucously hammering away at their guitars, Sean Yeaton strumming echos off his bass, and Max Savage intensely pummeling his drum kit. On their previous albums, including the splendid 2012 Light Up Gold, their compact songs – often coming in under 2 minutes – allowed for the bursts of high-adrenalin playing.
On their latest album, Sunbathing Animal, the punk songs remain with some, like the melodic “Vienna II”, staying true to the compressed format while others, such as on the title track, have been extended by nearly twice the length. But this album isn’t just a punk album – it’s a rock album. The Texan-originated, NYC-based quartet has expanded their sound to include the glimmering and melodic rock of the ’70s and ’80s as well as the punk-rock of the 2000s.
“Black and White” is a tune that could have been played during “The Happy Days” era – a boogying rock tune although with much more distortion. Tracks like “Ramona”, “Instant Disassembly”, and “Raw Milk” are reminiscent of melodic rock of The Velvet Underground and The Brian Jonestown Massacre while “Up All Night” has a wordless Joy Division feel.
“Ducking & Dodging” is a gritty, garage rock tune with a perky, stuttering bass. “What Color is Blood” is a punk-rock track filled with distortion. The final track, “Into the Garden”, is early Stones-esque – dark and deep and with Savage’s voice in a melodic, droning state.
Sunbathing Animal represents a young band maturing and extending itself. It’s not the full-throttle punk album of its predecessor and it may not be as raw and gritty, but Sunbathing Animal is a solid if not spectacular album that sees Parquet Courts heading to new destinations, not much different than the path fellow New Yorkers The Men are taking.
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