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Sympathy for Life by Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts

Sympathy for Life

Release Date: Oct 22, 2021

Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Noise Pop

Record label: Rough Trade

70

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Album Review: Sympathy for Life by Parquet Courts

Very Good, Based on 8 Critics

No Ripcord - 80
Based on rating 8/10

What a long strange trip it's been for Brooklyn's Parquet Courts. If someone would have told you nearly ten years back that the band's direction would point more towards an Austin Brown DJ set than an A. Savage rager likely to conjure up a mosh pit, you would have declared them daft. But, alas, here we thankfully are.

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Pitchfork - 76
Based on rating 7.6/10

Even at its brawniest, Parquet Courts' music has always explored questions of knowledge and the self, freedom and desire, responsibility and autonomy. Where some bands might sink in such existential quagmires, the New York quartet have only been propelled by their inquiries. With every album since their 2012 breakthrough Light Up Gold , their aperture has widened, allowing them to take in blues, western noir, and even some dub.

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Under The Radar - 70
Based on rating 7/10

Parquet Courts have been a band on the cutting edge of the rock scene for a while now. Between Light Up Gold, Human Performance, and, most recently, Wide Awake!, these country-boys-turned-punks have amassed one of the most consistently good discographies of the past decade in a genre oft-called dead. Their success can be largely attributed to their balance of punk's in-your-face ethos with catchy hooks, head-bobbing grooves, and well-timed hints of their western past.

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Exclaim - 70
Based on rating 7/10

For the majority of their career, Parquet Courts have found themselves settling into their imperial phase. Since blowing up upon the 2013 reissue of Light Up Gold, the Brooklyn band have released numerous highly celebrated albums, culminating in regular appearances on year-end (and even decade-end) lists. On their latest full-length, the quartet tempt fate by shifting their sound, a move that has sunk so many of their indie rock forebears. Recorded pre-pandemic with producer Rodaidh McDonald (David Byrne, Hot Chip, the xx), Sympathy for Life is an album heavily influenced by (and indebted to) dance and club music, building an entire LP around the beats and rhythms their previous LP, 2018's Wide Awake!, flirted with.

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musicOMH.com - 60
Based on rating 3

Parquet Courts' seventh album was written pre-pandemic, its release delayed for obvious reasons. But that gave the band a chance for some original thinking. There are 11 tracks on Sympathy For Life and, to promote the album, each track has been tied into a global event ('The Power Of Eleven'), for example a track being played by a marching band (The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps) in New York City.

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The Line of Best Fit - 60
Based on rating 6/10

The band's latest effort was envisioned as an attempt to capture the hypnotic reverie of a great party or DJ set, while filtered through the Parquet Courts ' live band chemistry. In some ways, the band already dipped their toes into these waters on Wide Awake, with its funk-tinged basslines and driving rhythm section. That approach reappears on Sympathy For Life with the clattering march of the opener, "Walking At A Downtown Pace," which almost sounds like a Wide Awake B-Side.

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Dusted Magazine
Opinion: Very Good

Photo by Poonah Ghana Drop the needle on track one of Parquet Court's new album and you're immediately catapulted back to the early 2000s. That's when New York's sweated and bopped to LCD Soundsystem, !!!, The Rapture and a cohort of bands mixing rock, mutant disco and no wave into second generation dance punk. "Walking At A Downtown Pace" has all the hallmarks; loose drums, driving bass, declamatory vocals, choppy guitars and, above all, swagger.

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Clash Music
Opinion: Very Good

Billed as a doff of the cap to club culture, 'Sympathy For Life' is actually Parquet Courts at their most puzzling. A record to be experienced physically, it's jam-heavy approach isn't the dance rock crossover you might expect - 'Walking At A Downtown Pace' may be heavily rhythmic, but 'Black Widow Spider' feels like an '84 post-hardcore sludger. 'Sympathy For Life' twists inside and out, the influence of Tony Allen leaning on those fluid hi-hats, but 'Just Shadows' has this strange post-punk meets Baroque feel.

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