Album review: Parquet Courts – Sympathy For Life

You can dance to anything, you just need to find the right moves, and be ready to lose yourself in the moment. To say that Parquet Courts have suddenly morphed into a dance act is wrong, it’s always been possible to get down to the New York lads, but this time, they dig the groove as opposed to the rhythm.

It’s no bad thing to evolve after a decade, and the start of the second wave of Parquet Courts is as beguiling as you could hope for. Opener ‘Walking At a Downtown Pace’ welcomes you with the sneer and incision we know and love, but ‘Black Widow Spider’ immediately ups the ante, gnarling guitars vying with fizzing lyrics about moving on.

Not a revolution, more a casual evolution, but one that takes big steps forward.

‘Marathon of Anger’ shows the band’s ire and fury is still in place, and very well directed. Andrew Savage still shakes a fist at capitalism and how people engage with others, but in the intervening time since the last record, it’s as though the world has caught up to the band’s outlook.

‘Just Shadows’ will hopefully feature a virile singalong during live shows, while the funk-infused ‘Plant Life’ should leave everyone feeling looser. The fleeting moments of beautiful melodies are still there, still as pleasantly shocking when they emerge from the musical onslaught.

Closer ‘Pulcinello’ is the moment of respite, winding its way to the finale, and fittingly, it’s a tale of masks, intrigue and things not being what they seem. For a track written before the spring of 2021, it is effortlessly on point.

For those of you who have loved PC for some time, don’t worry, that relationship isn’t in any danger. Not when the group keeps moving forward in ways that are familiar but keep branching out to new places.

Are you dancing? Parquet Courts are asking, and the floor is filling up. 

Sympathy For Life is out 22nd October via Rough Trade

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