Parquet Courts gives us reasons to be cheerful

Indie-rock slackers drop a who gives a fug? masterpiece

January 28, 2013

Warning: Parquet Courts’ Light Up Gold will induce uncontrollable ear-to-ear grinning—at least for anyone who prefers their rock ’n’ roll snotty, hard-driving, tuneful, simultaneously sloppy but controlled and above all gleefully stoopid.

With roots in the rich psychedelic garage-rock scene of Denton, Texas, but now based at the center of the hipster universe in Brooklyn, the quartet issued its first recorded tunes strictly on cassette in 2011. A follow-up album, Light Up Gold, got a bit wider distribution and started the underground buzz. Now it’s getting the proper release it so richly deserves. And if you care at all about the sort of sounds described a moment ago, you need to catch up now.

In stark contrast to much of the current Brooklyn scene, these boys are old-school slackers. They eschew electronica and fauxhawks, foodie blogging and Tweeting. Instead, they’re devoted to getting stoned and listening to the Feelies, the Modern Lovers and Wire, then hitting the streets to mock their posing peers while debating whether the better cure for the munchies is roasted peanuts or Swedish fish.

Sure, the lyrics may seem slapdash. But slacker philosophy always does, and sometimes the only sane reaction to a frustratingly insane world is to sneer, “Fuggedabout it!” Delivered in the right way, as it is here, it speaks volumes, especially when married to such well-constructed sounds. The group’s ability to cram so many hooks and twists that are instantly familiar while feeling utterly unique into such compact packages is where the Wire comparison comes in. And one listen to gems such as “Master of My Craft,” “Donuts Only” and “Stoned and Starving” while have you hooked, grinning and convinced that no one at the moment save perhaps Ty Segall is doing anything nearly as vital.

Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold (What’s Your Rupture?)

Rating on the four-star scale: 4 stars.