Human Performance

Comparing NYC’s Parquet Courts to Pavement’s slack indie rock and the Velvet Underground’s sixties guitar squall gives newcomers to the band something to pull them in. Five albums and two EPs in, the push-and-pull aesthetic is very much the spine of the band’s appeal (or lack thereof). Human Performance’s oppositional soul materializes with noisy, impatient bursts (“I Was Just Here”) set against a refined songcraft (“Steady on My Mind”) rarely found in indie rock. It seems the band’s need to be appreciated exists as strongly as its desire for oblivion. Album opener “Dust” and its mantra—“It comes through the window, it comes through the door/Dust is everywhere/Sweep!”—plies the band’s brand of repetitive pop trance to perfect paranoid extremes. The highlights are gimmick free, and strong because of a smart lyrical turns of phrase or creative arrangements and inspired playing. While not Parquet Courts’ master stroke, Human Performance is a fine introduction.