ALBUMS of 2014

Parquet Courts ‘Sunbathing Animal’

New Yorkers Parquet Courts released their follow up to 2013 ‘Light Up Gold’ on June 3. ‘Sunbathing Animal’ was the end of result of songs that had been written shortly after their 2013 record, showing their great work ethic and their vision to evolve. The writing to the new record has been explained as having a greater freedom and creativity with a tense and tangled take on Punk rock that gets under your skin. The title track explodes like nothing on the previous record and ‘She’s Rollin’ is a diversion from their short, snappy style, mainly due to it’s 6 and half minute duration with long, frenetic harmonica and angry guitar solos.

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Other highlights of the record include the head nodding and addictive ‘Ducking and Dodging’ with more examples of frantic guitar solos with a Andrew savage’s continuous and precise lyrical monologue. It’s the last two songs of the album that show Parquet Courts softer side (‘Raw Milk’ and ‘Into The Garden’) which displays their new found confidence given to them by the cult success of the previous record

Perhaps inevitably ‘Sunbathing Animal’ overall isn’t quite as striking as ‘Light Up Gold’ but they’re energy and invention does point to a step up towards bigger things and being in no rush to cease they’re punk racket and this fact is worth celebrating!

Essential tracks: ‘Sunbathing Animal’ ‘She’s Rollin’

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* * * * * * * * * (8 out of 10 stars)

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ALBUMS OF 2014

Royal-Blood (1)

ROYAL BLOOD‘Royal Blood’

Hailing from Brighton this duo have come a long way in a short space of time, with their self-titled debut album (released august 25th) being the awesome end product.  It was July 2013 and the drummer of the Arctic Monkeys, Matt Helders wears a Royal Blood t-shirt as they are headlining the pyramid stage at Glastonbury, this before RB had even released a single. Since then they’ve achieved rave reviews, heavy airplay on Radio 1 and became labelmates with Muse, Biffy clyro and Foals amongst others.  Along with support slot with Arctic Monkeys they have been a must see at the summer festival circuit.

Now to the album, 33 minutes of marvellously hefty drum work (Ben Thatcher) and impressive riffs on bass and snarling vocals (Mike Kerr) this alone justifies they’re comparisons with Queens of the stone age, Muse and The white Stripes to name a few. Typically their 4 singles, Out of the Black, Little monster, Come on over and Figure it out, are stand out tracks on the record. My highlight is Little monster with its fine chorus and buzzing riffs which is very hard to shake out of your head.  Out of the black was my 1st glimpse of RB so this will always be a top tune, the explosive end to their high energy gigs.

So what about their other album tracks, Ten tonne skeleton is a clever use of riffs and dynamic, stomping percussion and Blood hands an example of a break from their usual high gusto style which still fits the record very well.  It is true to say that the impressive singles do eclipse the other tracks, not saying that the tracks Careless and Loose change for example work well but don’t quite hit the spot in the same way.

Overall the hype has been proven correct by this record and there’s much to admire in the direct punch the band deliver.  I was lucky enough to see them live few months back on the NME tour and they were amazing, catch them at a venue near you soon!

* * * * * * * * * (9 out of 10 stars)

Essential tracks: ‘Little monster, ‘Out of the Black’

http://royalbloodband.com/