Parquet Courts – Sympathy for Life – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Sympathy For Life is the seventh album from New York nearly-men Parquet Courts, not bad going in ten years. It’s very much business as usual from the start, Walking At A Downtown Pace jerks and twitches along, full of that NYC attitude. The tightly wound, narky riffs of Black Widow Spider follow in a similar vein, while Marathon of Anger is more electronic, all bleeps and blops with a spacey feel. Just Shadows has some fine guitar work, one of the better tracks here.
Plant Life is something of a centrepiece, not just because it falls in the middle of the album, but it’s a sprawling, laidback track, just shy of six minutes, a mash-up of Talking Heads/ David Byrne with a bit of The Doors thrown in. Application Apparatus ups the intensity a fair bit, channelling a motorik rhythm with shades of Kraftwerk and the Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray.
Later on some of the tracks (Homo Sapien, Zoom Out, Trullo) kind of blur into each other but the slow, mellow final track Pulcinella represents a departure. It’s reminiscent of what Fontaines do on their final tracks and is probably the best thing here. It would be good to hear the band pursue this avenue in the future. In the meantime, this album won’t change your life but won’t disappoint fans either.
Walking At A Downtown Pace