Sunbathing AnimalArtist: Parquet courts

Album: Sunbathing Animal

Album Reviewer: Michael Mariscal

Rating: 3

Rating 3 Approval



There’s nothing music critics love more than the abrasive. Don’t believe me? Check Rolling Stone’s top albums of the decade. See #1, Kid A? That legendary album leads the listener to insanity with lyrics like “cut the kids in half” and sounds that led many to speculate that it was made to get their record company to terminate their contract. Or how about #3, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? That’s the album that Warner Brothers refused to release because of the myriad of painful and chaotic sounds that they believed would destroy the band.

It’s an odd but undeniable pattern. And Parquet Courts new album Sunbathing Animal has benefitted from it. Abrasion is their identity. With a slacker sound, their singing is constantly out of tune. Singer Andrew Savage is either talking or yelling, but certainly not singing to you. Guitars play with choppiness rather than traditional taste. And some spots of the album seem to be direct cuts from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’s most abrasive moments.

So naturally this album has been critically acclaimed. It got a 8.6 out of 10 from Pitchfork, a 4 out of 5 from Rolling Stone, and a 78 on Metacritic. But I believe that critic’s reviews of this album have been too kind. Though this album is full of the same unpleasant sounds that made Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Kid A unforgettable, these noises lack the purpose that every carefully plotted and constructed whine and scream achieved on those two albums.

These sounds belong on the album. They are a nice addition to each song, stylistically and musically. But in my opinion, they have mostly helped the album by distracting critics from the many issues of the album. It’s hard to find a review that mentions the tedious repetition that damages almost every song. And it’s even harder to find a review that references the lack of talent showcased by any of the band members. The drums and bass loop through the same lines over and over, as a guitar refuses to divert from a riff that began as fairly boring anyway. And though Andrew Savage and some guitar solos and fills add a lot of color to the album, they are simply unable to make up for the pitfalls elsewhere. As a result, I give this album a 3.

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