• Dull Tools
Parquet Courts
Light Up Gold
(Dull Tools)

Except for the tightly-coiled guitar work, a callback to the string-bending of Thurston Moore and Sterling Morrison—after whom I named my cat—you'd never know Parquet Courts co-founders Austin Brown and Andrew Savage were from New York (by way of Texas).

On the follow-up to their debut, the cassette-only American Specialties, I hear traces of the UK, Australia, and New Zealand in their jagged pop attack.

Granted, I also hear Brit-punk as reinterpreted by Yanks, like Perfect Sound Forever-era Pavement and Vampire on Titus-era Guided by Voices (and if you told me Brown and Savage were into the Saints and the Verlaines, I'd believe it).

Parquet Courts aren't as lo-fi as early GBV or Pavement, but the feedback roams freely and the strained, pitch-challenged vocals have an immediate, one-take feel—as if the singer drank too much coffee, needs to pee, or suffers from some kind of "nervous condition." Plus, the gents sometimes sing in unison—or a loose interpretation of same—such that one seems to echo the other.

And that probably sounds unappetizing, but urgency can be easier to appreciate than to describe. The addition of tambourine and organ lend the proceedings a vaguely '60s feel, but garage and psychedelia are just a couple of stops along their wide-ranging itinerary (the bass playing, for instance, brings Public Image Ltd. to mind). In that sense, they remind me of the Fall and the Swell Maps.

There are no more summer lifeguard jobs.
There are no more art museums to guard.
The lab is out of white lab coats,
'cause there are no more slides and microscopes.
But there are still careers in combat, my son.

—From "Careers in Combat"

If you listen closely, I swear you can also hear the Monkees ("Last Train to Clarksville") and Michael Jackson ("Beat It") snaking its way through their work. But enough with the name-dropping! Above all, Light Up Gold is just plain fun.

Light Up Gold is out now on Dull Tools (original release date: Aug 18).