Smart Punk at Its Finest
Parquet Courts are on the up and up, and they’ve only just begun as a band. Though Light Up Gold marks just their second release, the LP has already seen a re-release on the record label What’s Your Rupture? and is now available for wider consumption. Pairing typical punk angst with wider themes of impending adulthood, Light Up Gold is more than sticking it to the man or cursing your elders. The NYC-based Texas band cites a wide gamut of authors as inspiration, including such heavy-hitters as William T. Vollman and David Foster Wallace. That postmodern style lends the necessary smarts to turn such songs as “Donuts Only” and “Stoned and Starving” into quirky dips into the psyche.
The band’s musical span is widespread as well. “Yonder is Closer to the Heart” has the same urgency as Bloc Party, just as “Yr No Stoner” recalls the broad swagger of Curious Hands in their hey-day. Throughout the fifteen songs that make up Light Up Gold, there is a definite Texan influence, and it’s not just the bull-riding cover art. Pitches speed up and slowed down, adding a bit of twang and style. “Careers in Combat” benefits greatly from this shift, its percussive groove rolling through the soundscape at a clipped, militant pace. Both eponymous tracks “Light Up Gold I” and “Light Up Gold II” are brief and biting, even with the former’s eighteen seconds of bent synth goodness. When Parquet Courts play, you pay attention.
It is this boisterous need to be heard that makes Light Up Gold a truly contemplative punk rock record: it’s equal parts fun and soul-searching. Whether you’re miles away from the adult world or mired in its trenches, Light Up Gold speaks to that spirit of uncertainty, passion, and even boredom. As a definite nod to David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water,” it’s about more than boredom, about what it truly means to be a fucking human being, even if that human being only subsists on Swedish fish and cigarettes.