Considering the shoeing that 2015’s ‘Monastic Living’ received, it’s unsurprising to find Andrew Savage and pals abandoning their instrumental, noise-rock experiments after one EP. Instead, ‘Human Performance’ is the sound of a band hurtling back in the opposite direction to deliver melodic alt-rock packed with droll observations.
As per last LP ‘Content Nausea’, Parquet Courts’ compositions remain rooted in ideas of anxiety and disorientation. Savage’s insouciant drawl seems custom-designed for sifting through the detritus of modern-day living, as evident on ‘Dust’ where he makes the most banal of subjects seem sinister. He continues to sound thoroughly beaten down on the regret-fuelled title track, but its sentiments are balanced by a summery, 60s-inspired melody.
There’s a lot of brightness here, be it the sleepy, Pavement-esque ‘Steady On My Mind’ or the bongo-flecked swing of ‘One Man, No City’ – which culminates in ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’-style noodling – and these sunny interludes accentuate the ferocity of ‘Human Performance’’s more garage-y moments. By stepping back, Parquet Courts have taken a leap forward.