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November 2020
Review

Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

Who knew there were so many ways to be pissed off?
Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
Published: 10:33 am, May 15, 2018
Who knew there were so many ways to be pissed off?

Label: Rough Trade
Released: 18th May 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Everyone’s favourite Brooklyn punk throwbacks Parquet Courts have never exactly been shy about their political views, and ‘Wide Awake!’ doesn’t stray far from their traditional stomping grounds of left-wing discontent coupled with anger at the modern world. ‘Violence’, the second track on the album, is more a polemic set to music than a song in the traditional sense, a bold middle finger to anybody worried Parquet Courts may have lost their edge.

This disaffected anger runs through the whole album, always present and temporarily focussing in on issues including gun crime, the oppression of the working class, and even American Football player Tom Brady. It also takes multiple forms: the fury of ‘Violence’, the quiet menace of ‘Before the Water Gets Too High’, the nihilism of the aptly named ‘Death Will Bring Change’. ‘Wide Awake!’ may have a limited emotional range, but it occupies every niche of the ground it treads. Who knew there were so many ways to be pissed off?

The album isn’t perfect by any means, ‘Mardi Gras Beads’ and ‘Back to Earth’ drag on long enough to remind you how much better Parquet Courts are at short, sharp songwriting than post-punk influenced slow burners, but neither are actually bad songs, just not as good as the rest of the album.
Eight years in, it wouldn’t be surprising if Parquet Courts were running out of steam. Thankfully ‘Wide Awake!’ proves there’s plenty of fuel left in the tank. Jake Hawkes

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