I’ll be honest for as vital and nervy as I found Parquet Courts’ Light Up Gold I strayed over the last few EPs and albums. Human Performance and Sunbathing Animal left me slightly cold and I’d just snoozed over the collaboration with Daniele Luppi. Where Light Up Gold poured out of the speakers rough and ragged, some of the short format offerings felt cut with kid scissors and looking to papercut on purpose. Though the band’s NYC pulse still held strong, they needed another spark on their tinderbox tendencies towards blunt Modern Lovers rubdowns and city life injustices.
Seems like Danger Mouse was just the thing the band needed to right the tiller and his production on Wide Awake gives the band a much-needed car battery to the nipple, shocking their apathy to ire transition into form and grinding their post-punk impulses into just the drug they need to incite the action espoused by their lyrics. Wide Awake is far and away the band’s peak, crackling with an energy that befits the early 30’s epiphany that you’re not the person you want to be and you’re losing time to transition.
In the process of finding their footing they’ve honed their core impulses, this is still a band weaned on VU, The Feelies and the aforementioned Jonathan Richman (so much Richman) but now they’re absorbing eclecticism with the appetite of David Byrne and invoking the erratic execution of early pop Eno. They drop junkyard funk into the mix, they pull tempo turnoffs in mid-song and when they slow things down this time, they pine and preen while captivating rather than blending towards the wildflowers on the wallpaper. For all the clutched pearls that followed the DM production announcement he’s done the boys a solid and kept their trademark angles intact while splashing a good ton of color on the final design.
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