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Parquet Courts Human Performance Rough Trade


There’s much to love about Human Performance, the fifth album from garage-rock quartet Parquet Courts. The band’s stoned, absurdist humour is present (“You look so nice / Chinese fried rice”, they chant on the Devo-influenced I Was Just There), as are the wirey, nervously energetic guitar riffs – see the hesitantly groovy No Man, No City and the wobbly surf rock lead of Berlin Got Blurry.

But despite Parquet Courts’ high jinks, Human Performance is in fact the sound of a band growing older. On Outside, for instance, Andrew Savage croons “I picked out all the grey hairs that remain on the outside”. Captive Of The Sun proves a clear album highlight – a pained lament to not only to New York, but to modern claustrophobic urban living in general. The mood is then switched with the beautiful Steady on My Mind – a Velvet Underground pastiche complete with relaxed percussion that could’ve been played by Moe Tucker herself.

Perhaps in their maturity, Parquet Courts have lost a little of the urgency that made songs like, say, Stoned and Starving so much fun. What they have given us in return, is a richer, broader sonic palette and – on occasion – deeper lyrical subject matter. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold from here.