21 July 2018

Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

OK, OK, I'm reviewing it, I'm reviewing it!  If only to stop the requests (it was on the list anyway), I've brought forward my review of the sixth studio album from New York City Post-Punk act, Parquet Courts.  It seems as if the world has gone gaga for these guys, but they're not in the mood for giving out more than they require.  Their social media presence is none existent, which feels little strange in this day and age.  It has become the social norm for bands to be on every platform, but not for these cats.  This alone makes them stand out from the crowd, which is hard in a crowded market. 

Produced by Danger Mouse and recorded at Electric Lady Land (New York) and Sonic Ranch (Tornillo), Wide Awake! is a deliberate attempt by Parquet Courts to release an album that is out of their comfort zone.  I suppose it's an admirable ambition to challenge oneself, to strive forward in a different direction.  My experience of Parquet Courts is limited if I'm honest, a few songs here and there is the depth of my exposure to their work.  But what I've heard before has never sounded bad, so now it's time to look at Wide Awake!

Wide Awake! is an album which contains a few different facets of sound.  There is out & out Post-Punk on tracks such as "Total Football" and "NYC Observation", there is Dream/Power Pop on "Mardi Gras Beads", there is a Funky Indie Pop turn on "Tenderness" and a whole ocean of noise in between.  Each song has a different recording value, capturing the desired sound that the band was aiming for.  When you listen to each song on its own, they sound really good and you want more of that style.

With that being said, Wide Awake! feels like a compilation album in places, the mixture of styles giving this polished album an uneven feeling.  That disjointed style comes across a little anarchic and without clear direction, and not in a good way.  I can get on board with chaos, I love going from genre to genre like a musical bigamist.  But on Wide Awake!, it can be overpowering at times.

The takeaway point I've reached with Wide Awake! is that Parquet Courts are a beautiful band who can turn their hand to any style and make it there own.  If they focused on one of the styles that they've showcased here, this album would have been an out and out classic.  Because they've gone genre to genre like a social butterfly, it's merely a decent record.  However, it's still a listenable album and not without charm or merit, it's just a little too confusing for its own good.  I'll still be checking out their back catalogue as well, so I suppose Wide Awake! has at least perked my interests in Parquet Courts.  File under - these guys warrant further investigation, but this is not quite there.

6 out of ten - Now, I see where you were going, but it's not quite there.

Top track - Tenderness

You can purchase Wide Awake! on Amazon here.

Parquet Courts don't have an official website or Facebook page; but they do have a Wordpress page, which you can find here.

You can stream Wide Awake! on Spotify here.

You can stream Wide Awake! on Deezer here.

You can stream Wide Awake! on Tidal here.

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