Parquet Courts “Wide Awake”
Parquet Courts are one of those bands that, ever since their first album, we have been meaning to check them out. Despite many people recommending them to us and the fact that descriptions of their sound seemed to match our tastes, we just hadn’t got around to it. Thankfully, this new release has given us the chance to see what we have been missing out on.
Certainly, opening tracks “Total Football” and “Violence” matched our expectations of what we thought the band would sound like. They’re caustic and angular punk rock songs. Indeed, songs like “Almost Start a Fight” and “NYC Observations” are what we would term ‘real punk rock’. It’s not necessarily that they have an ‘old school’ punk sound, instead, they’re songs full of passion and a sense of aggression. Songs that are designed to provoke a reaction, something which is sadly missing from so much music these days.
However, this album also offers up so much more. It’s the diversity and range of sounds that really impresses us with this release. Importantly, there’s a real contemporary feel to numbers like “The Water Gets Too High” which suggest a band capable of inspiring future generations. Inevitably though, when you combine punk rock with a sense of experimentalism, you come to the Clash. Therefore, it is probably not surprising that when we hear tracks like “Normalization” or the gang land chants of title track “Wide Awake”, we can’t help thinking that this is the kind of sound Strummer et al would be producing now.
There are also some surprisingly ‘beautiful’ and melodic songs on this album. That includes the psychedelic, dreamy sound of “Mardi Gras Beads” and “Death Will Bring Cheer” which sound like Love or the realisation of Brian Wilson’s vision of The Beach Boys. Or you get the more Replacements esque garage rock of “Freebird II” and “Expectation”. Then you get the spacey, almost dub, wonderfully floating sound of “Back To Earth”.
Having heard this album, we’re just damn annoyed that we didn’t get around to checking the band out before. This is a wonderful album which you just hope will go on to inspire young people to not only revisit classic bands but also create music themselves. If their previous releases are anywhere near as good as this, then the Parquet Courts are clearly a very special band.