Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold

This is punk unbounded, both structurally and emotionally.

Label: What's Your Rupture / Mom + Pop

Rating: 9

‘Light Up Gold’ is an album about needs and wants. Not material things, necessarily. Not love or whatever our definition of happiness might be. Just something. ‘Light up gold was the colour of something I was looking for’ goes the refrain in the record’s title track. ‘Stoned And Starving’ documents the process of having writer’s block. Creative needs, emotional needs. ‘Light Up Gold’ is something indefinably sought after.

Parquet Courts found that missing piece. This explains why Andrew Savage and co. - a group who’ve been playing shows in and around New York for years - ended up here, in magazine pages, on big stages. All of Parquet Courts’ members have done the whole band thing before. They clearly didn’t get into music to make money and become celebrities. But ‘Light Up Gold’ - whether the respective members regard it as a step-up or not - is a breakthrough moment, the attaining of that missing colour that’s so hard to latch on to.

The appeal of ‘Light Up Gold’ is hard to define. But every time you play it, you feel like it’s filling some kind of a void in your taste. Any diehard fan of punk staples will enjoy the maddening, abrupt flow of it all. Tracks spanning below the two minute mark are a constant thrill - no doubt about it. But that extra step, that missing piece illuminates when you find yourself, midway through a quiet walk, perhaps, feeling like you’re a part of the band. You shout words in unison with Andrew Savage’s bold chants; stand-out lines like ‘Socrates died in the fucking gutter!’ and ‘there are no careers in combat, my son.’

Most of ‘Light Up Gold’ is about the stumbling pace of life. It makes mundane observations, like pictures in magazines and the windows of a hatchback, and hoists them up as the subject of a song. So why are you so enraptured by it all? Because Parquet Courts are just a band. They’ve no pretences. They write songs when they feel like it; they write about whatever the hell they want. And as you grow up and find life more unjustifiably joyless and devoid of meaning, you’ve someone backing up your pathetic, privileged thoughts. By intention or coincidence, the band’s debut boils over with frustration. And all you crave is a piece of it.

It’s an album about encountering everyday boundaries, like the price of a ticket home or a messed up sleeping pattern that keeps you up at night. But the record’s sound is the total opposite. It’s punk unbounded, both structurally and emotionally. When you hear this record, and no doubt when you see this band, everything lets loose. You find that missing piece, whatever the hell it is, and all your passions explode like a pack of dynamite.