Parquet Courts have finally graced us their highly anticipated 5th album, Human Performance via Rough Trade. The New York quartet have curated quite an artistic performance to promote the release of this record with a mural of the album artwork displayed on Wyckoff Ave by the Jefferson L stop in the bands stomping grounds of Brooklyn, NY. There’s even a Parquet Courts themed newspaper vending machine across the street from the said mural.
Human Performance speaks of contemporary frustrations of the New York City life. Singer/guitarist Austin Brown describes it as “the impossible struggle against clutter.” As the album’s opening track ‘Dust’ repeats “Dust is everywhere…sweep” it speaks to the everyday clutter that can be a maddening distraction living in the city.
Sonically, Human Performance has traces of the classic NYC punk sound of the 1970’s. It’s a familiar yet refreshing sound that showcases the bands growth. ‘Dust’ has a beautiful repetitive droning tone with subtle piano licks that straps you in for an auditory trip around NYC.
The title track on this record serve has an explosive tune that would be a pleasure to see live. With its stadium filling chorus, I can image fans getting drunk and singing loudly to each other after a long work day.
After numerous listens, I have grown to appreciate the awkward song structure of ‘I Was Just Here’. The choppy, staccato guitar notes over the spoken word lines “My keys don’t work… This knob don’t turn.” Now here is when the track get interesting, towards the end the track turns into an explosive punk track with lines “I Was Just Here” being repeated. This is living proof of the wonders you can accomplish with a song that is less than 2 minutes long. The mental, maddening anguish of humanity is evident in this track with the stand out line “My mind’s worn out, without a doubt.”
Overall, Parquet Courts created a cohesive project that flows together very well andHuman Performance should be on your Spotify queue or however people listen to music these days.