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Album Review
Sunbathing Animal

Sunbathing Animal
by Parquet Courts

Label
Rough Trade
Rating

Review Date
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.


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