Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!
Parquet Courts have never followed the trends or really tried to be something their not. Their dancey form of Rock & Roll is more pronounced on this new Danger Mouse produced album, but their kooky heart still remains the same. This is the kind of artists that critics love, almost the Velvet Underground but not quite as unapproachable. Working with Danger Mouse who's clientele include U2 and A$AP Rocky might seem a bit out of left field, but Danger Mouse is always ready and willing to take a deep musical dive. That is really what Wide Awake! really is, a music nerd's super boner. "Violence" features a 70s-esque funk breakdown at the end which spills into the almost childlike sound of "Before the Water Get to High" as the band tries to deal with a world that is crumbling around them with a plucky bass and simple keyboard. The album is odd but has a flavor and vibe all it's own. Parquet Courts are slick in how unslick they are, and their willingness to try damn near anything in pursuit of something catchy. Their lyrics have always had a sense of dread to them and that sense is even more in the front of tracks where the music doesn't quite match the lyrical content. There is the 60s rock-pop ditty "Mardi Gras Beads" that feels like it has been glossied up for 2018 fans, but throughout the vocal there is this disassociated delivery that leads you believe the band are ready to say fuck it all at a moments notice.
The more punk leaning tracks like "Almost Had to Start a Fight? In and Out of Patience" give the band this really nice edgy sound but they are so reverential of early punk tracks they feel almost like copies. The vocal even sounds like it is trying to sound like something the Ramon's might have put out. So many times while you are listening to Wide Awake! you feel like you are listening to the past, far more than their last album. It just makes you wonder why they would choose to go in this direction especially with a guy like Danger Mouse at the production helm. "Back to Earth" sounds so much like something the Doors put out it is pretty jarring, but you find that sentiment time and time again on this record. The funkier elements like the title track are more fun, but still don't feel like you are hearing something that is uniquely Parquet Courts. There is a hell of a lot of music thrown at the wall with this record, but very little of it feels like something you can actually get excited about. You can imagine the live show having a lot of energy and being kind of strangely DIY, but this album again doesn't make the case for Parquet Courts being the band you've been looking for. They might be close though.
6.2 out of 10