If Parquet Courts proved to be the perfect combination of Television and Pavement on its second album, 2012’s remarkable Light Up Gold, that disc was its more song-focused Glory while Sunbathing Animal is its Marquee Moon. That is to say, the new disc is more unapologetically art-rock and slightly less focused on song craft, though both still boast the stoned grad student, chaotic, shambling, but somehow irresistible quality of Stephen Malkmus at his best. And both insinuate themselves so slyly and unobtrusively that you might be midway through your tenth listen when you finally proclaim, “My god, this is brilliant!”
True, the new effort from these Texas-to-Brooklyn transplants lacks a single stand-out anthem as brilliant as “Stoned and Starving.” But that’s hardly a let-down when we get the epic 7:13 “Instant Disassembly,” which is as much a tour-de-force mission statement for this quartet as “Marquee Moon” was for Tom Verlaine and company. Add to that the plentiful joys in the intertwining guitars of “What Color Is Blood?” and “Always Back in Town,” the seemingly tossed-off but instantly infectious choruses of “Dear Ramona” and “She’s Rollin,” and the undeniable subway train rhythms of “Black and White” and “Duckin and Dodgin,” and Andrew Savage and his band mates have given us their second stunner—something that’s only made more impressive by the fact that they’d probably just shrug (and maybe mumble, “Fuggedabout it”) when thanked for the accomplishment.
Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal (What's Your Rupture?)
Rating on the 4-star scale: 4 stars.