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Parquet Courts - Sympathy For Life (Album Review)

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 Written by Matty Pywell

Photo: Pooneh Ghana

Parquet Courts’ 2018 album ‘Wide Awake!’ found the New Yorkers so invested in being the centre of the party that it almost felt like a carnival, with a post-punk sound that doubled down on grooves. But on their latest album ‘Sympathy For Life’ they wanted to create something that was inspired by the party itself.

Walking At A Downtown Pace is the perfect start as the band capture the feeling of strutting down the street in your own main character moment, taking indulgent strides as a chorus of voices and guitar rhythms drive you on. 

And yet, for an album that is directly influenced by fun and hedonism there are some slightly awkward tonal shifts.

Marathon of Anger lets that early momentum slip as it gets held up by mechanical vocal effects and stickier rhythms. In trying to enter sci-fi territory, meanwhile, Application/Apparatus becomes preoccupied with its own dawdling pace. 

The real shining moments here come when Adam Savage’s vocals are allowed to be at their chant-inspiring best. It’s so easy to feel like you’re a part of Parquet Courts’ world on songs such as the single Homo Sapien, which is something of a callback to their ‘Light Up Gold’ days. These high points provoke a sense of unstoppable collectivism amid the march of angular post-punk.

The most successful experiment on ‘Sympathy For Life’ is Plant Life, where flickering electronica is joined by abrasive bass before flourishing into greener pastures of psychedelic textures. There are times when Parquet Courts sweep the rug from under themselves and lose their sense of forward motion, but they never stay down. There’s plenty of life left in that party.

Parquet Courts Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed June 08 2022 - BRIGHTON Chalk
Thu June 09 2022 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Sat June 11 2022 - DUBLIN Helix
Sun June 12 2022 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Mon June 13 2022 - LEEDS Leeds Uni Stylus
Wed June 15 2022 - GLASGOW Barrowland Ballroom
Thu June 16 2022 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute

Compare & Buy Parquet Courts Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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