This is not exactly a Parquet Courts album proper. ‘Content Nausea’ sees the band’s Andrew Savage and Austin Brown bashing out a short, pithy not-quite-an-LP while their fellow bandmates variously become parents and math graduates. With contributions from JOMF’s Jeff Brown on sax and Bob Jones from Eaters on fiddle, ‘Content Nausea’ has the feel of a lo-fi session, all rough edges, grainy texture, shitty drum machines and primitive synths.
It’s supposedly, in part anyway, a statement about how the band’s native New York is becoming crowded out by modernity and change. But this is something that’s actually been ever-present in Manhattan since it was first settled.
However, that doesn’t prevent this from being a veritable psychiatrist’s couch of a collection. It is dominated by fears, anxieties, traffic, frustrations at the pace of change, gripes about the pull of advertising, freak weather patterns, sundry neuroses and everything that the good people of New York like to tie themselves up about.
Those emotional outpourings are generally delivered in a spoken-word style reminiscent of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo at their most visceral and observant, vocals placed amid tracks that sound like they were created from forgotten Suicide, Devo or Cabaret Voltaire sessions from the art-punk end of the 1970s.
Varied releases like this – with songs ranging from the clipped, robotic post-punk-funk tension of ‘Everyday It Starts’ through to the dour folksy Greenwich Village weariness of ‘Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth’ – can become sprawling, messy, unordered. ‘Content Nausea’ thrives on chaos though, just like the New York it is meant to be a reaction against.
Words: Mat Smith
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