For anyone who has ever felt like a consumer slave, questioned the existence of free will, or wondered if we are all just the sum of the media we consume: Parquet Courts is the band for you. Their songs are like a slow, soaking rain during a prolonged drought, quenching the thirst for something real, something smart, something wholesome in a desert of superficiality and vapidity.
Human Performance delivers that refreshment. It is the band’s second release after signing to legendary label, Rough Trade, following last year’s largely substance-less statement of rejection, Monastic Living. Human Performance is the band at its best.
The usual themes of alienation and anxiety are present, delivered by vocalists Andrew Savage and Austin Brown in their often obtuse and always witty conversational style. But there is a directness that is present in Human Performance that has been largely absent in previous releases. In the title track break-up song Savage croons, “I told you I loved you / Did I even deserve it / When you returned it,” perhaps their most sentimental track to date. This theme of regret is recurring in songs like the catchy, “Outside,” one of PC’s poppiest numbers, and “It’s Gonna Happen,” a haunting, Velvety slow burner. Parquet Courts show, once again, why they are the quintessential 21st century rock band.
Recommended If You Like: Velvet Underground, Pavement
Recommended Tracks: 2 (Dust), 3 (Human Performance), 5 (I Was Just Here), 13 (Pathos Prairie), 9 (One Man No City)
Do Not Play: 11 (Keep It Even), 12 (Two Dead Cops)