Wide Awake! is the sixth studio album by Brooklyn’s art rock powerhouse quartet Parquet Courts. Following the trail of their last two impressive recordings, 2017’s Milano (a collaboration with musician Daniele Luppi and singer Karen O) and 2016’s Human Performance, the Courts keep delivering sharp and contagious exercises of observational post-modern Western existence wrapped in late 20th century American rock legacy. The Courts have mastered sonic eclecticness as very few bands nowadays can pull off without sounding lost. There are more percussion sounds, synthesizers, and a particular mature calmness perceived throughout the whole album despite the loud or accelerated sonic moments. One of the best of 2018.
RIYL: Wire, Parkay Quarts, Pavement, PCPC and Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts’s album Milano.
FCC WARNING: 1, 2, 5, 7,10
IMPORTANT: There’s a second disc with clean versions of tracks 1 and 5
Recommended Tracks: 1 [FCC & clean], 3, 4, 5 [FCC & clean], 7 [FCC], 9, 10, 12, 13
1. (4:01) *** Total Football – FCC [Fuck]. Medium/medium-up tempo. Fast guitars, assertive vocals, classic NYC creative energy. Play clean version.
2. (4:05) Violence – FCC [Piss]. Medium-up tempo. Soaked in 1970s protest rock dynamism. Almost funky. Powerful message.
3. (4:05) *Before the Water Gets Too High – Slow tempo. Meditating at a measured pace. As minimal and chill as Parquet gets.
4. (2:43) **Mardi Gras Beads – Medium tempo. Parquet Courts’ own “Range Life.” Even the melody reminds me of the Pavement classic. Brief and to the point.
5. (3:14) ***Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience – FCC [Shit]. Upbeat tempo. Stylish punker piece merges into a loud fast rocker a la early Modern Lovers. Catchy as hell. Last few seconds of song introduces next track. Play clean version.
6. (2:55) Freebird II – Medium tempo. It could be the continuation of “Mardi Gras Beads.” Nice guitar riff.
7. (2:11) ***Normalization – FCC [Bullshit]. Medium-up tempo. Punk rocker a la classic late 1970s NYC. Great piece.
8. (3:54) Back to Earth – Medium tempo. Part atmospheric punk, part balladesque psych rock. Dub Courts.
9. (2:38) **Wide Awake! – Medium-up tempo. Parquet Courts goes mutant funk. Dancing time.
10. (1:22) *NYC Observation – FCC [Pissed soak curb]. Fast tempo. Courts being Courts. In your face.
11. (1:41) Extinction – Fast tempo. Another Parquet being Parquet moment.
12. (2:42) **Death Will Bring Change – Medium tempo. Trippy tune with children’s chorus, odd beat and a nice psychedelic guitar solo. Last 30 seconds is a recording of the band talking in the studio.
13. (3:06) **Tenderness – Medium-up tempo. Groovy piece soaked in 1970s AM radio. Playful and existentialist at the same time.
14. (4:01) *** Total Football [Clean Edit] – Medium/medium-up tempo. One of my favorite tracks.
15. (3:14) ***Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience [Clean Edit] – Upbeat tempo. Another great track.