Release Date: November 13, 2015
In just over half an hour, the band turn their characteristically spiked stoner rock into wonky walls of noise, experimenting with abrupt scene changes and weird new backdrops.
Unlike that paragon of artistic rejection, Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, which actually coheres rather nicely, the EP has little textural detail; the music is not immersive, much less transcendent. It isn’t just a score to modern ennui but a work that itself feels indifferent. Yet it’s presented with a straight face.
Monastic Living provides meditative, probing insight into the ever-evolving attitude of Parquet Courts. Ultimately, the project serves best as a check-in, letting fans know where the band's heads are at after a year on the road. And although both fans and newcomers alike would benefit from a more substantial, cohesive project, it's enough for now.
It’s easy to guess that Parquet Courts will loop back to their more streamlined art punk sounds moving forward, but Monastic Living proves, if nothing else, that this is a band that’s unafraid of taking the occasional off-the-wall detour.
It seems like Parquet Courts might be taking notes from labelmates Girl Band, producing some of their most uncompromising work to date. Monastic Living is a very curious move for the band.