Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Parquet Courts - Tally All The Things You Broke EP

Parquet Courts can do no wrong. I said that awhile ago, when they released their album Light Up Gold , which went on to be my favorite album of the year. They displayed such an impressive grasp on how to make not only a song, but an album fun, that you forgot the majority of the songs on it were just over a minute long (And these guys aren't even punk). With Tally All The Things You Broke, the fun seems to be in short supply.

The opening track on the EP, "You've Got Me Wonderin Now", feels like the guys started right where they left off with Light Up Gold. It has that slight garage rock twinge to it that makes it feel edgier than it actually is, while not being musically oppressive. The drums are quick, and the guitars tinny strum leaves no doubt it's Parquet Courts you're listening to. The song also displays, what I felt, was a sense of humor with a random recorder playing a melody in the background throughout some of the chorus. It might rub some listeners the wrong way, but for my part, it doesn't feel out of place.

"Descend (The Way)" comes out of the gate strong, being harder than "You've Got Me Wonderin", but still walking the line enough to not quite cross into punk or garage rock territory. While the song fades a bit in the middle with random filler, it relies, like most their songs do, on the combination of its unique vocal stylings and simple, but uber catchy riffs, which are both strong enough to carry the song by themselves. It's a slight problem they had on their album as well, but maybe something they can fix in the future. 

From there, things start to take a bit of a nose dive. "The More It Works", despite its quick tempo and good song structure, feels a bit flat and uninspired. While it adds variety with a driving bass-line being the only melody throughout half the song, the fact its so prominent is what makes it weak in the first place. Clocking in at over 5 minutes, the song could have used a bit of a trim, which may have made the chorus, powerfully driven by a barrage of distorted guitars, also more impressive. Instead, things get stale pretty quickly, loosing its overall effect. "Fall On Yr Face" doesn't feel like a track they'd make, let alone play. It feels at home played by some crappy blues-rock band at some bar frequented by middle-aged divorcees looking to mix it up and get lucky. In other words, as far from their norm as possible.

The final track, "He's Seeing Paths", is as bewildering a track as any I think I've heard. Maybe the song is meant to be a joke, in which case, fine, you got a laugh out of me, congratulations. However, I don't think it is. It's as if they found their old casio keyboard and turned on some of the pre-made beats installed on it and decided to make a random, very terrible hip hop song. I get the necessity to change things up, but when you deviate so much from the course you set that no one, especially a solid fan, doesn't get what you're doing, it might be time to not do it again.

Tally All The Things You Broke isn't going to be shit on completely since it's only a 5 song EP, but it does give me cause for concern. This might have been more of a silly EP the guys released, meant more for themselves than their fans, but the fact they still took so much time and effort to make it is odd. Three of the tracks are solid, and while the last 2 are mind-numbingly stupid, maybe they just wanted to see what people would think of a different approach. So long as they don't do it again, I'll give them a pass on this one. - Shane

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