Parquet Courts walks a fine line between being a post-punk revival band and a post-punk cover band. If the nostalgic post-punk elements were somehow more smoothly and completely integrated into the whole sound, then these guys would be in the clear. But the seeming lack of cohesive vision in the band’s flavour did not allow this to happen.
Parquet Courts comes from Brooklyn, New York, and they exude the style you would expect them to have coming from such a stylish hometown. They brought the arty and jazzy cool of new wave New York bands such as Television and Sonic Youth. Experimental elements abounded: atonal flourishes, dissonant chords, and unconventional percussive parts that at times had a Frank Zappa vibe.
Unfortunately, there seemed to be a few different bands up there. One a Television cover band, another a Pavement cover band, and finally the actual band Parquet Courts. It was like the band couldn’t make up their mind as to who they were. Although the Pavement or Television fanatic would’ve been in their glory — at times if you closed your eyes you might feel like you were transported into an ‘80s New York club — ideally we want to see fresh licks from young talent.
But the saving grace was when co-lead singer Andrew Savage announced that they were about to play a few new songs. The first was “Human Performance,” the title track off their new album. That song was seriously good. The modernity of their sound promises a bright future for the band. And I have to say, Savage’s performance was absolutely captivating. After every song that he sang, I couldn’t help but turn to my friend, point to him, and say, “I like that guy.” He was punk, he had soul. He was versatile, he sang from a dark place and just unloaded all his emotion onto the audience in a flurry of flying spit.
In terms of skill, the whole band was great. While there was never anything super complicated about their arrangements, they played with an awareness of punctuation. Notes ended with an energy and polish that showed their skill and meticulousness. It’s clear that these guys are serious about their music.