Album Review: Parquet Courts - Monastic Living
By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor
[Rough Trade; 2015]
Key Tracks: “No, No, No!”
Parquet Courts is the prime example of a dad-rock band in the new millennium. The Brooklyn-based post-punk outfit has been adored by fans for their tight groovy melodies and catchy choruses, and questioned by critics for weirder releases like their last album Content Nausea and their forgettable debut album American Specialties.
With their second EP Monastic Living, Parquet Courts go in a distorted, experimental direction similar to those “weirder” previous releases. Although the prospect of a newer, stranger Parquet Courts record had plenty of potential, Monastic Living is a complete mess from start to finish and is one of the worst and most disappointing releases of 2015.
After the first and best track on the EP, “No, No, No!,” the listener is greeted with over 30 minutes of gross noise, harsh distortion and exaggerated dissonance. Although tracks like “Alms for the Poor” and “Prison Conversion” sound similar to the good tracks on Content Nausea, the rest of the album feels like it is trying too hard to be experimental and cool, just like American Specialties.
The songwriting style on this EP is very confusing; many of these tracks repeat the same awful melodies over and over for way too long (“Monastic Living I.,” “Vow of Silence,” “Monastic Living II.”), while many others feature nothing but noise for such a short amount of time they serve no purpose (“Elegy of Colonial Suffering,” “Frog Pond Plod,” “Poverty & Obedience”).
In short, Monastic Living is kind of like that one live jam session you saw that was way too loud and ran for way too long. The only difference between this EP and that jam session is that the jam session actually had some interesting moments.