Sympathy for Life

Parquet Courts - Sympathy for Life
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2021 Ratings: #280 / 660
User Score
Based on 397 ratings
2021 Ratings: #674
Liked by 17 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
Gigwise

They have distanced themselves from the love-drunk punk of Human Performance, the collective indie urgency of Wide Awake!, and stumbled across an album that lives in the groove. 

84
Paste

On this project, the band ramp up their polished sound with an assembly of synth-rock and soft palettes of speculative and, sometimes, refreshingly vulnerable lyricism.

80
Mojo

In amongst the jumble of influences, trad indie-guitar Parquet remains ... written pre-pandemic, but wonderfully inspiring for late 2021.

80
Upset

With more emphasis on electronic grooves, the band have found a way to elevate their sound while staying true to their roots, and 'Sympathy For Life' is undeniable proof that Parquet Courts are just as relevant now as they ever have been.

80
NME

With album seven, the cult heroes navigate more garage-rock designed for the dancefloor but also hurtle into unchartered territory.

80
AllMusic

Instead of party-starting excitement, the band refracts echoes of Can, Bowie, and the Talking Heads at their most abstract for an album that feels tense and bleary, like a party that's still fun but has burned on for so long that the sun is coming up and things are starting to get weird.

80
No Ripcord

Following in the footsteps of the group’s breakout album, Sympathy For Life proves more subtle in its efforts to explore new territory.

80
Dork

They continue to cartwheel off in whatever direction feels the most fun. A creatively restless band who know how to transform absurdism into something pulsatingly alive.

80
The Skinny

While some may miss the band's more direct approach of previous records, tracks like Homo Sapien show Parquet Courts can still rock out.

80
The Sydney Morning Herald

Sympathy for Life is slightly more esoteric than past releases, diving into wild new worlds and sounds, while retaining the fighting spirit that’s made the Courts so beloved. This is a band that keeps getting better and better.

80
Uncut

NYC post-post-punters stay punchy.

79
Spectrum Culture

It doesn’t have the power of something like Wide Awake!, but the core of what makes a good Parquet Courts album remains.

79
Beats Per Minute

The beautiful thing with Sympathy for Life is that it is flexible and will be viewed completely differently once we get over COVID. Most albums that directly relate to this era in our history will be seen as period pieces from this time, whereas Parquet Courts’ latest album will live on and be heard from an entirely different perspective years down the line; and will be played at future parties.

76
Pitchfork

With sincere, resolute songwriting and a more accessible sound, the latest album from the New York quartet feels more suited than ever for the ecstasy of a crowded club.

70
Slant Magazine

Ultimately, Parquet Courts prove that they’re still more than capable of writing songs that shine when rendered in the same no-frills style as those by their post-punk idols.

70
DIY

Suffice to say, ‘Sympathy For Life’ is not a pop album. Indeed, in their efforts to distance themselves from general appeal, Parquet Courts have also abandoned conventional structures.

70
Exclaim!

Sympathy for Life isn't a failure as much as it's just a step down from the indie rock podium. There's still a lot to admire for longtime Parquet Courts fans here, while the rest just requires some patience and a bit of unconditional love.

70
PopMatters

Parquet Courts branch out into dance-rock and Madchester textures inspired by the rave’s communal, ecstatic atmosphere on their latest Sympathy for Life.

70
Under The Radar

The fusion of all these elements leads to an intriguing, if uneven listen.

60
Loud and Quiet

Sympathy For Life is bookended with the record’s standout moments, ones that deftly denote maturation in their familiar style.

60
The Line of Best Fit

After the anything-goes approach and vibrant production of Wide Awake, Sympathy For Life comes off surprisingly restrained for a band like Parquet Courts.

60
musicOMH

There’s still somewhat of an eclectic feel to Sympathy For Life despite its intended dance focus. Yes, it’s different and at times more uplifting than most Parquet Courts albums, but it’s an album for the band, not for the fans.

60
The Needle Drop

It's nice to hear Parquet Courts go in some different directions on Sympathy for Life, but the successes are more or less in the spots that most resemble the previous Wide Awake.

BaddieBaphomet
40
NO NUANCE REVIEW

I didn’t really love Parquet Courts’s last album as much as everyone else did, so for some reason I thought all the mixed reviews would mean that I would enjoy this one more.

Nope. Should have just trusted you guys.
biglasagnayeet
62
Damn, Parquet Courts really missed with this one. Comparison with "Wide Awake!" is pretty much inescapable here, considering this is the band's first release since then, and this just paled in comparison in every shape, way and form. The groovy riffs, the punchy, enjoyable vocals, the intricate and meaty contrasts; previously, they were all perfectly in place to create a super enjoyable experience. "Sympathy For Life", on the contrary, was a bore. Every single track ... read more
marvelgaryen
68
First of all, it's not a bad album. Perhaps it's just a little clumsy, still don't think it's a negative factor, Parquet Courts are a great band and we've been known, it is safe. 'Sympathy For Life' has its moments of fun, some great guitar sounds, ok lyrics, nice details of production and percussion, most important, it's a fun ride.
POPDESIGN
59
Is this really Parquet Courts' new album? I hope it's a dream.

Except for the first track and title song, these are full of filler tracks that are not interesting at all with generic ideas.

Highlights : Walking at a Downtown Pace, Sympathy for Life, Marathon of Anger
heavenlyxbn
80
This is the first Parquet Courts album that I hear, and thinking that many of you did not like it very much, I thought I would start to introduce myself to their discography with the left foot, but to an incredible surprise I liked this album, a set of post-punk songs, which did not make me heavy or bad to listen to, for me. To introduce me to their career I think it's cool.

Favorite tracks: Walking At A Downtown Pace, Black Widow Spider, Marathon Of Anger, Just Shadows, Plant Life, Symphaty ... read more
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Track List

Year End Lists

#62/MOJO
#72/Rough Trade (UK)
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Added on: June 27, 2021