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That Parkay Quartz sound a lot like Parquet Courts, don't they? But then again, maybe they don't. Content Nausea by Parkay Quartz is, of course, Parquet Courts' fourth studio album since 2011 and their second this year. Their rule of productivity seeming to follow the rule that you should make hay whilst the sun shines and Parquet Courts (or whatever you want to call them) are on shit-hot form right now.

So what's in a name? Parkay Quartz is primarily the work of Andrew Savage and Austin Brown, and with Content Nausea recorded, mixed and mastered in two weeks on a 4-track tape machine, it’s not surprising that the album is a mix of half-ideas with experimental filters and, thankfully, some of their most direct work to date. The opening couple of tracks are grounded in the kind of literate, jarring post-punk we've come to expect from them. 'Everyday It Starts' punctuates Savage’s robotic, neurotic vocal delivery, lamenting anxiety and a lack of sleep, with some classic Austin Brown guitar work. Vocals ramble and guitars gallop at full speed on 'Content Nausea', attacking society’s over-reliance on media and technology before collapsing into a middle section of screeching feedback and a sorrowful Savage at his most self-aware; "Harder and harder to remember / Meeting a friend / Writing a letter / Or being lost / Antique ritual all lost to ceremony of progress / Like essential organs removed / They’re only weighing you down / You didn’t need them / Ignore this part it’s a advertisement."

The attack on modernity continues with 'Pretty Machines', staccato punk jabs chime over a snarling Savage bemoaning the fact that "Pretty Machines, expensive magazines / I’ve been tricked into buying quite a number of things". It’s noticeably refreshing that Parkay Quartz have risen to such prominence whilst remaining unconventionally conventional. Rock and rollers who became the most interesting guitar band around without becoming enslaved by social media whoring or incessant self-promotion, but by writing brilliantly witty punk songs and letting a fan base develop via word of mouth and blistering live performances. It's so old fashioned, it's veritably quaint.

However, unlike Light Up Gold and Sunbathing Animal, Content Nausea doesn’t feel like a landmark release for the band, more of a palette of ideas and experience mixed together with some undeniably great songs. A few synth-led interludes, a Worn Copy-era Ariel Pink homage ('Psycho Structures') and a couple of strange cover versions, one being a pretty decent re-imagining of 'Slide Machine' by The 13th Floor Elevators and an oddly straight version of 'These Boots Are Made For Walking', certainly give the album a weaker feel than their previous two.

But, leaving the very best until last, album closer 'Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth' could well be the best song Parkay Quartz, or indeed Parquet Courts, have released to date. A six minute, two chord country-punk ballad in which a lonesome tale about "two men tragically colliding in the deep south", as Savage explains, unravels in the southern heat with soft organ flourishes and a sumptuous slide guitar outro. The final minute of the track is an explosion of blood and fire as the distorted guitars finally let loose whilst vocals screech and crack, hollering the line "He was the uncast shadow of a southern myth" over and over until track fades into oblivion. There has always been a perversity about Parkay Quartz, as their name change suggests, and this track is symbolic of that capriciousness. You want that final section to kick in sooner, and once it starts, you never want it to end, but as soon as they give you this glorious payoff, they rip it from your hands and cast it into the wind. Fortune favours the brave, and we are very fortunate to have Parkay Quartz at the very top of their game.

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