Words by Russell Carstens
Parquet Courts is a rock band from New York City that formed in 2010. After releasing three albums, singer/guitarist Andrew Savage released Content Nausea in November 2014 under the modified name “Parkay Quarts,” as the majority of the album is the result of his work alone. Content Nausea is a mixture of poetic art rock, glorious alternative-slacker anthems, and disjointed interludes.
The album was recorded on a four track tape machine (whether it was cassette or reel-to-reel is unknown), and the dry, immediate lo fi production allows Savage’s sometimes frantic vocals to become slightly overloaded. On the title track and “The Map,” he takes a more spoken word approach—perhaps a nod to certain spoken word Velvet Underground songs that are meant to tell a story.
The loopy riff of “Everyday it Starts” is interrupted by theremin squeals, as if Savage’s brain has finally reached its boredom threshold. His lyrics address anxiety throughout the song and album, before morphing into a dissonant, minimalist jam that would make a perfect snippet on Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted. And with that, the intrigue is firmly planted in the ears and mind of the listener.
The standout tracks “Slide Machine” and “Pretty Machines” combine perfect ’90s chord changes and sunny Sonic Youth guitar melodies with slacker vocals as if Pavement met the surreal quality of Beck’s early albums. A twangy, simple and pleasant guitar solo is enhanced by the no frills lack of reverb, echo, and other production sweeteners. On “Pretty Machines” Savage lets his abstract tendencies wander off as he sings, “Moonlight/ It’s hard to believe it/ And it’s harder to need it.”
The interludes “Urban Ease,” “Kevlar Wall,” “Insufferable,” and “No Concept” provide plenty of atmosphere, but these kinds of pieces would have fit in better on an album that is a bit less rock-oriented. Still, kudos to Savage for fearlessly doing as he pleases. A bit of comic relief is provided via an attitude-enhanced cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” Savage demonstrates that he can add a dash of suburban slacker blues to his repertoire on the hypnotic six-minute closer “Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth.”
Overall, Content Nausea is a very enjoyable, respectable and original effort. Looking forward to seeing what Savage and/or the Courts do next.
What’s Your Rupture
© January 6th, 2015
TheWaster.com | Savage