Album Review

Sunbathing Animal

Sunbathing Animal

by Parquet Courts

Rough Trade
8.5 / 10
27th May 2014

Reviewed by Nich Cunningham

Following on from last year's EP, Tally All The Things That You Broke, Parquet Courts’ third full-length album Sunbathing Animal ventures further into territory familiar to fans of the band. The Brooklyn-based group's oblique reimagining of punk filtered through a lens of Television and The Velvet Underground by way of Sonic Youth remains undiluted but, as may be expected of a band at this stage in their tenure, this record brings a more concise and self-confident approach.

Maintaining their distinctive style, Sunbathing Animals finds the band's driving rhythmic pulse focused by the mono production. The guitars lend a melodic counterpoint interspersed with frequent bursts of fuzzed up noise, and singer Andrew Savage’s stream-of-consciousness commentary is both vague and specific, but always engaging. The anger of the title-track sees the band in full flight, barely keeping up with itself. Mid-way through, 'Vienna II' has a similar sense of frustration, combined with a dissonant abstracted violence. And sprawling seven-minute track 'She’s Rolling' explores darker, more reflective territory with its oppressive droning bass and menace. The album closes with the noise-driven 'Into The Garden', vibing like a vari-speed Can before an about-face into a Guided By Voices-esque vignette of self-loathing.

There is a subtle broadening of Parquet Courts palate with this record. However the band has preserved if not re-enforced their signature aural and lyrical aesthetic. If you were unimpressed before, Sunbathing Animal may not change your mind but make no mistake: this latest installment is a sophisticated and exciting collection of songs from a potent band operating at full power.