Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up

Dualtone Music

-out May 4

4.5 / 5

We have some misplaced anger at Austin-ite Shakey Graves. You see, his albums (specifically his last one, 2014’s And the War Came) are incredibly difficult to review. We reluctantly gave this one a 3.5 (see the review here) when, really, it’s one of our favorites of the year. Shame on you, Alejandro Rose-Garcia, for flying under the radar! The “problem” with his music is that it’s difficult to categorize, and to compare to other musicians out there. It’s easy to get confused, to work at it to tune your ear to it; in short, his albums and especially writing are “growers.” They grow on us. And his latest, Can’t Wake Up, is one such album. But we’re catching on to you!

We feel the greatest strength of Can’t Wake Up is in comparison to And the War Came; where War is out-and-out an unusual throw-your-indie-right out-there kind of album, both in the odd angles of its musicianship and lyricism, Can’t Wake Up is mellow, understated, perhaps intentionally trying to fly under the radar. Again, like in 2014, our first impression of this album was not much, but we find that after two to three plays, it’s something that we appreciate; another two plays, we might even hum along. The tone of the album is often depressing (a song is named “Dining Alone,” of course) and at times lifts up off the ground (that same song picks up in a day-dreamy, “Waterloo Sunset” kind of way), a muted style compared to four years ago. Our tracks we’re going to pick out are “Mansion Door” the third single, and “Excuses,” more of a hidden gem in here. “Excuses” is a great, moody little rocker of a piece that’s extremely hum-able for a non-love song (“I don’t have time to fall in love” – how’s that for non-love); and “Mansion Door” is a bit more upbeat lyrically, and certainly singable and enjoyable. But honestly, the whole selection of songs here are great, are growers, and are worth your time.

Shakey Graves has again penned the kinds of songs you might normally pass by, and we’re going to suggest you not pass them off; highly recommended.


Find the time to fall in love on Shakey Graves’ website.

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