After dipping into pseudonym land for two releases and some shows as Parkay Quarts last year, the band now return to the original Parquet Courts moniker for a brand new mini album. Monastic Living appears to be their attempt at a 'Metal Machine Music', and is their first release since signing to Rough Trade worldwide, not just in dear old blighty.
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Really the only way you could get me interested in a release by these vibeless slackers is to tell me their new record is fucking unlistenable, which many have. Purported to be ‘Metal Machine Music’ for Pavement fans, ‘Monastic Living’ is actually the most energetic these dudes have ever sounded -- jaunty guitars crash against one another as if Battles had hired Phil Minton to write their sheet music (which until now was just receipts for crisps), and with the vocals mostly subtracted from proceedings, it sounds like they’re concentrating really hard on the squalor produced.
Hating on this record is easy, so I’ll give you an alternative: you’ve got rhythm in abundance on “Monastic Living I”, a discordant icebreaker of non-riffage that nonetheless sounds as propulsive as whatever your favourite psych rock tune was this year. I’m not saying Parquet Courts are good at noise rock, just that it’s actually less annoying than hearing them half-sing about being half-awake for the fourth time. The sharp guitar spikings start to sound like an apprentice Storm & Stress after a while, while the short songs could easily be Dead C interludes, little torrents of noise made by people who could just as well write a stellar melody.
The drum machine on “Frog Pond Plod” is cute and the little scuzzles of noise they scatter onto the song’s surface are too; once again, there’s a groove going on to help you fathom the nonsense and come to terms with the fact that Parquet Courts actually sound like this when they’re stoned. Come on: there’s even a little bit of space rock guitar going on in the backend of this song. Pitchfork’s review suggests it’s nothing more than a shrug, as if that hasn’t been the Courts mission statement since day whatever. As if we can compare them to old indie rock bands but not weirdo noise acts. I’m literally hearing it with my ears right now. It has bits that sound fine. You’ll be fine.
What the hell is this?
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