I'v usually only posted short notes or even just grades for my already published reviews, but at the request of a few English speaking friends, I thought I'd try to translate an entire review and posted it here. We'll see if I can find time to do this more often. First out, Parquet Courts' Sunbathing Animal, originally reviewed for Musikkmagasinet, Klassekampen and published June 5th, 2014.
Parquet Courts: Sunbathing Animal (Rough Trade):
When Brooklyn based Parquet Courts came rambling full of zest and determination and presented Light Up Gold in 2012, it was good news for those of us with a hankering for brisk if rough hewn rock, where snarls soon give way to grins and then back again. Their 2011 debut had snuck under the radars of many, yours truly included, but one wonders if that very fact may have given the band a chance to hone their craftsmanship.
Because Light Up Gold was the sound of a band who appeared to have found their voice. Molded from the drone rock of the Modern Lovers and The Feelies, but more rattling and full of character. "I'm master of my craft," Austin Brown, one of the band's two singers, asserted on the album's opening track, seemingly on behalf of the quartet. A slacker band whose stories often concerned not falling into the slacker trappings, but rather fighting against writers block and a squeezed labor market, for self-assertion and, lets not forget, trying to sate the appetite post Mary Jane inhalation.
And that they master their craft they proved, so any major tinkering with the formula shouldn't really be necessary. On the other hand, if you have something new to say, some change to the scenery could strengthen the impression. Perhaps that is why the title tune, "Sunbathing Animal", was the first thing most of us got to hear from the new album. Harder and even more snarling than what they had on offer last time around, propelled by a motoric beat in full gear. "This manic pace I cannot slow," as Adam Savage verbalizes it towards the songs end. Lively and fresh.
But whereas the mellower tunes at the previous juncture had a gently rocking feel to them, in slower tempos here they seem to trudge. They do indeed seem slack, and the lyrics – whether observational or quirky stories, as always articulately written – are not enough to grab my attention alone. That said, I did chuckle at the "NO" outburst in "Dear Romano", which seemed like a nod to Televison's Marquee Moon classic "Venus".
On the other hand, Sunbathing Animal sparkles when the band switches on and the riffs spring link they do on "Black and White", with its tumbling bass line imitating the narrator's naked decent down the stairs, and hand claps intensifying the songs gleeful abandon. This and the album's title track, the bouncy "What Color Is Blood", "Vienna II" with its twirling guitars, and the stomping "Back In Town" prove that Parquet Courts are still masters of their craft. When they can be bothered. – 7 (originally 4,5 out 6).