So there’s this band called Parquet Courts, but sometimes they put out records and play shows under a hilarious phonetic misspelling: Parkay Quarts. I proudly wear a Parkay Quarts pin and it’s very confusing to strangers, especially when they don’t know the band in either form. Already this year, Parquet Courts put out one of my favorite records, Sunbathing Animal, so I was obviously beyond stoked to hear they were striking again on such short notice.
What separates the Quarts from the Courts (at least this time around) is that Content Nausea was mostly recorded by only the dual front men, Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, on a four-track recorder. Thus, this record has a much looser, lo-fi feel than the loud and muscular Sunbathing Animal. Some country vibes even sneak in, especially on the standout “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth.” Lyrics, as often is the case with these guys, are spectacular throughout and worth digging out of Savage’s alternately propulsive yelping, or mellow, nonchalant delivery (not to mention the sort-of spoken word track “The Map”). Strains of classic Devo appear on “Everyday It Starts,” “Psycho Structures,” and the short instrumentals “Kevlar Walls” and “Urban Ease,” as their use of nervy restraint and piercing keyboards punctuate the literate lyrics. “Pretty Machines”– which could be mistaken for the kind of effortless jam the Strokes used to turn out well, effortlessly–and the manic cover of “These Boots Were Made For Walking,” are also highlights. Even if it occasionally feels like two restless minds killing time before their next major statement, Content Nausea is still awesome and manages to magically sound like both a companion piece to Sunbathing Animal and baby steps to a new phase of whatever name they decide to use next.
– Layne Montgomery