If pop music often shows us how the other half lives — spoiler alert, it's fancy — the punk rock of Parquet Courts details how many of us simply survive. Desperation and fast guitars have long gone hand in hand, but the hurried observational scrawls of anchor Andrew Savage dart among urban landscapes, creating the effect of exuberantly peering in and out of city windows to offer literate sketches of the emotionally stunted.
More so than on earlier works from this Brooklyn via Texas quartet, the blues hound the subway-connected corridors of this third album. A droning dirge for the aimless, "She's Rolling" lets the band's trademark counter melodies slow-dance around one another while a harmonica solo provides the violence. "Instant Disassembly" recalls the unforced tension of a Velvet Underground reverie and "Dear Ramona" unfolds like a tragedy, with only a call-and-response chorus breaking up the loneliness of the pithy yet meditative guitar work.
As a whole, "Sunbathing Animal" sees the band adding more dimension to its wordy, sometimes abstract tales — the washboard-like bop of "Black and White," the lost-in-the-garage frayed wires of "Into the Garden" or the vaguely new-wave undertone of the instrumental "Up All Night." It all makes the panic, such as on the missed connection frenzy of the title track, that much more dramatic.
What's Your Rupture?/Mom+Pop
Three and a half stars