When you think of punk, Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts might not be the first band to spring to mind. And indeed, why should they? They certainly don’t adhere to the leather, bristles studs and acne uniform that typical punk conforms to. Their sound isn’t inherently punk either, at least not in the British sense of the genre. Parquet Courts are in fact rooted far more deeply in the art-punk of their hometown in the ’70s and ’80s, more Black Francis than Black Flag. And with Sunbathing Animal, their third full-length, the band look set to further their already impressive reputation.
While it could be said that there’s much more of a garage or slacker/surf rock vibe going on with Sunbathing Animal it isn’t without occasional moments of sheer aggression, built wholly around the bands appreciation of hardcore. The titular track in particular echoing some of the genres better releases whilst tracks such as ‘Always Back In Town’ and ‘Black White’ bring to mind to the surrealist musings of Sun City Girls.
A stand-out moment of the record comes late on in the form of ‘Instant Disassembly’, a seven minute rolling lament with a narrative surely born through touring. It’s nothing like the heavier aspects of the record, nor those with more of a garage rock feel to them, it comes across like a more recent Beat Happening, or Beulah. ‘Raw Milk’ on the other hand, feels like a more stoned Black Francis, and perpetuates the long-established laid back vibe that the album lays out from almost it’s outset.
Having never been familiar with the band before, and having only seen their name in the last year or so, I wrongly assumed that they were just another buzz band, a flash in the pan whose name would be forgotten by the likes of NME just as quickly as the bandwagon wheels were set in motion. How wrong I was however, as Sunbathing Animal proves to be 13 tracks of art-punk and garage rock that suggests the band are far more than your average New York punk outfit. There’s elements of The Strokes at play, smatterings of Television here and there as well as some very notable Lou Reed-esque lyrics. All in the all, it seems Parquet Courts have finally broken in to their stride, and show no sign of slowing their ascent to the top. With a history of an annual album behind them too, it seems I’m already looking ahead to next year’s inevitable addition to their discography.