Review: Human Performance by Parquet Courts

Reviewed by Nicholas Bramanti
Score: 8.5/10


On the follow up to their much acclaimed album, Light Up Gold, Parquet Courts offers up a look at the anxieties of the world and the “unavoidable noise of NYC” as guitarist Austin Brown describes it. The album goes back to the familiar post-punk blend of Light Up Gold, but still holds dearly onto some of the noise influences from their last EP, Monastic Living. Their new album manages to blend anxiety and relief better than anything I’ve heard before, building upon layers of dissonance and minor chords before breaking into a poppy dance-along chorus.

The intro track, ‘Dust’, sets the tone for the record as they sing “suffocate, suffocate, breath.” This is their repetitive nature, dread followed by relief, despair followed by hope. This is clearly seen in the change from ‘Human Performance’ to ‘Outside,’ where we hear them give the best description of their sound I’ve heard yet: “screaming softly into a loud mic.” These songs are gentle and float easily over your ears, but upon digging further into the album and understanding what is being talked about the album hurts, it cuts into the anxieties and insecurities that are present in our everyday life.

‘Captive of the Sun’ is one of the standout tracks on the album, it holds onto a strange, tilting rap while xylophones and guitars plunk along adorably in the background. This song holds onto a pace that constantly feels like its about to fall off the track, but continually manages to hang on. A similar effect is heard on ‘One Man No City’ where the sound seems so uneasy and off-putting, that I found myself itching to escape onto the next song, and following suit they break into the dancey ‘Berlin Got Blurry’ making it well worth the wait.

“You know when it all moves too quick and can get out of hand? Sometimes I need a reprieve”

Fave Tracks: 8, 6, 3

FCC: 9, 12, 13

RIYL: Ought, Protomartyr, Viet Cong

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