Parquet Courts have made significant waves since the original release of Light Up Gold on their own Dull Tools imprint last August. The Brooklyn-by-Texas post-punks made strong impressions through a variety of CMJ-week appearances in October, launched their first U.S. tour and have now re-released last year’s debut LP on What’s Your Rupture?, helping catch up those who slept on this missed gem. Their clean, jangly guitars, steady drums and unforced melodies have passed the litmus test amongst many already and will undoubtedly win over plenty more with the album’s second release.
The group’s very first release was the cassette-only American Specialties in 2011. The sound certainly bears a similarity to the unpretentious and dual vocal approach of the group’s singer, Andrew Savage of Fergus And Geronimo. However, in Parquet Courts, Savage combines with fellow singer-songwriter Austin Brown to ditch F&G’s propensity for exploring a variety of unrelated genres song to song, instead sticking to a spastic, stripped-down, sharp-edged attitude indicative of early Pavement, Tyvek and the Intelligence. It makes for sincere, pogo-inducing music that keeps the chords at a minimum with smarts to boot, not bashful of offering weird, stoned reflections.
Opening track “Master Of My Craft” wastes no time kicking into the fast-paced nature of the album that’s regularly combined with rapid-fire vocals, backed by a set of highly literate lyrics. No sooner are they shouting, “Socrates died in the fucking gutter!” before four clicks of the drumsticks seamlessly transition into album standout “Borrowed Time,” the lyrical theme of which is aptly representative of the whole album. “It seems these days I’m captured in this borrowed time,” sings Savage, unapologetic for nostalgic considerations but concise enough that he’s never overly indulgent to the point of Japandroids proportions. Meanwhile, “Stoned And Starving” discusses being exactly that, meandering around the Ridgewood, Queens, neighborhood many Brooklynites find themselves cast off to in search of affordable living, pondering what got them there in the first place.
Lyrical considerations aside, there’s no denying the relentless punk energy consistently offered, specifically with tracks like “Donuts Only” and “Disney P.T.” that clock in well under the two-minute mark. “N. Dakota” plays a role in slowing things down, serving itself more as a lyrical exercise in imagining the historical evolution of the oft-neglected state, and “Caster Of Worthless Spells” drones on, but overall, Light Up Gold offers very few dull moments through its 15 tracks.
While Light Up Gold’s re-release is quite literally nothing new, it’s sure to garner a rash of deserved credit this time around, opening Parquet Courts to a wider audience that can further foster the appreciation of this excellent album. Hopefully, the takeaway of this is that tastemakers will accept having missed on something but still give it proper recognition, regardless of who was the first to do so and when.