Parkay Quarts 2Earlier this year, Parquet Courts released the excellent Sunbathing Animal, which saw the NYC-based quartet expand their sound, moving away from being purely a post-punk band to a full-blown rock band with more attention to melodies and textures. With the more expansive sound came lengthier tracks, as previously Parquet Courts recorded songs that rarely passed two minutes in duration but now were hitting the four-minute mark.

The evolution of Andrew Savage (vocals, guitar), Austin Brown (guitar), Sean Yeaton (bass), and Max Savage (drums) continues on their second release of 2014, Content Nausea. And just to differentiate the two projects, the band is promoting the album under the pseudonym Parkay Quarts, which intentionally or not rings with the butter substitute Parkay Butter. And like that oily margarine, Content Nausea does have a sound that dates back a few generations, particularly of ’70s rock.

There are tracks that are reflective of the band’s original sound, such as the album’s opener, “Everyday It Starts”, which is a great, intense opener. The title track, “Content Nausea”, follows and sees the band blend post-punk with rock. After that, the band’s evolution really starts to take hold – from the groovy, even slightly arty rock tracks like “Pretty Machines”, to ’70s rock akin to what The Brian Jonestown Massacre have been creating such as on “Slide Machine, to “Psycho Structures'” reverb-drenched, echo-rock like Wooden Shjips, to the southern-rock closer “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth”, which is an instant classic.

But what really stands out is the album is a concept one, despite having a short, instrumental track titled “No Concept”. The album, unlike their previous ones, is more of a sociological critique of today’s society that is dominated by mass and social media and materialism and how these things converge to be self-destructive. By removing themselves as the protagonists from their songs, Parquet Courts’ songwriting and imagery have improved. As a result of the band’s growth, Content Nausea is probably their most accessible album to date. It’s difficult to say if it’s their golden achievement given how they’ve written a few great albums, but it is their most mature effort, which is saying quite a bit as the album was produced in a mere two weeks on a 4-track tape deck. Besides showcasing how the band can make great music quickly, Content Nausea also demonstrates that the band isn’t just a one-trick pony.

Content Nausea is out now on iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic. The physical release of the album will be available on December 2 on What’s Your Rupture?.

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