Wide Awake! is Parquet Courts' fifth record and most groundbreaking to date, an album about independence and individuality, collectivity and communitarianism, but love is at its core. There's also a freshness here that's testament to the group's restless spirit. This may be attributed to the fact that it was produced by Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse, but it's also simply a triumph of the songwriting. The songs, written by Austin Brown and Andrew Savage, are filled with a traditional punk rock passion, as well as a lyrical tenderness, but are elevated by the dynamic rhythmic propulsion of Max Savage (drums) and Sean Yeaton (bass).
Reflecting a burgeoning confidence in the quartet's exploration of new ideas in a hi-fi context, ultimately the message contained in Wide Awake! is more complex. "In such a hateful era of culture, we stand in opposition to that – and to the nihilism used to cope with that – with ideas of passion and love," Austin Brown says. For Andrew Savage, it comes back to the deceptively complex goal of making people want to dance, powering the body for resistance through a combination of groove, joy, and indignation, "expressing anger constructively but without trying to accommodate anyone."