With Parquet Courts it seems almost natural to expect the unexpected. Following last year’s releases of ‘Sunbathing Animal’ and ‘Content Nausea’ – the latter released under the moniker Parkay Quarts – the princes of post-punk might be back to their original band name, but new record ‘Monastic Living’ is as much of a departure as every move the group make.
Their first release on Rough Trade, the release is almost entirely instrumental. Announced as an EP, yet with nine tracks clocking in at a over thirty minutes, Parquet Courts are once again pushing the boundaries of their format. Abundant with raging guitars, storming refrains, and thundering percussion, ‘Monastic Living’ is a tour de force with no regard for convention. With the EP’s very title indicating relinquishing all expectation for something spiritual, what else would you expect?
Opening track ‘No, No, No!’ is the only non-instrumental track on the record. Parquet Courts’ distinctively droll lyrics are at the forefront of squalling riffs and echoing fills for a mere minute, before being discarded for something entirely more encompassing.
Without words or angst-ridden cries, Parquet Courts have crafted a beast of a record ready to swallow you whole. Huge and sprawling, yet somehow intimate, it feels like being let into a private jam – extended layers of loud and searing sounds drawn out just for the listener.
‘Monastic Living I’ boasts a lead guitar solo of maestro proportions and mammoth length, whilst ‘Monastic Living II’ sees synthesised melodies take a juddering lead. ‘Vow Of Silence’ pushes volume over the limit, fuzzed up distortion muffling every moment. ‘Alms For The Poor’ is forty-six seconds of strident rock that fractures and distorts, whilst closing track ‘Prison Conversion’ takes in everything from psych rock through punk to sawing alarm-esque refrains.
It’s dark, it’s filthy, and it’s entirely immersive. Engaging and draining, Parquet Courts have once again pushed their capabilities to the max, and as ever, the results are like nothing you’ll find elsewhere.