Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Album review: PARQUET COURTS - Light Up Gold

Highlights: Master Of My Craft, Borrowed Time, Stoned And Starving, Picture of Health

Light Up Gold is clearly one of the most super-charged, upbeat, entertaining albums of the year. Imagine a part-country, part-punk album as conceived and recorded by Guided By Voices (if that makes any sense). There’s nothing groundbreaking going on here, but all the same: prepare to be blown away by the sheer energy oozing through these pummeling riffs and through these incessant, irresistible grooves.

I don’t really see why these guys are so actively compared to the Strokes (like back at the time I couldn’t really see why the Strokes were compared to the Velvet Underground – can’t get it to this day to be honest). There’s nothing particularly hipsterish (I’m using the word somewhat affectionately) about Parquet Courts: they are doing sloppy country (see cover) filtered through old-school punk aesthetics. And it sounds brilliant.

The obvious gripe being that you won’t be able to tell one song from another: there are next to no pauses between the tracks, and when they do slow down the tempo a little (“No Ideas”, one of the weaker songs here), it’s still pretty much the same thing. My favourites are probably “Master Of My Craft” and “Borrowed Time”, but that is probably because they come first. I also love the 5-minute epic “Stoned And Starving” that dwarves everything else in the good old “Police And Thieves” way (except that The Clash did something, well, different, there). A good half of these songs are over before you even know it. I also happen to love the final track, “Picture Of Health”, the noisy Guided By Voices pastiche that is perhaps the only song here that offers at least some stylistic variation.

Not that stylistic variation was needed. And no, your ears won’t be bleeding by the end of it – it’s not that sort of album, but there’s still a great chance much will sound like classical music after one good listen to this. I loved Light Up Gold, and there’s no reason why you wouldn’t.


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