Album Review: Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up

Alejandro Rose-Garcia is a gentleman from Austin, Texas. You may better recognize the singer/songwriter’s name through his mysterious moniker Shakey Graves. After a truly remarkable performance on his 2014 album And The War Came, the expectation level for this next album was through the roof. Despite such a tough act to follow, his most recent release Can’t Wake Up proves Garcia’s ability to release back-to-back gems.

Although Garcia’s electro, finger-pickin folk-stomping style is pretty clear, the new album became a platform for rethinking and reshaping stylistic approaches to songwriting. The signature style that hooked us all was his edgy, fierce finger-picking drive, ringing out through blazing electric guitars with hypnotizing pedal effects. But from the very beginning of the opening track Counting Sheep, listeners plunge into a psychedelic world of trippy guitar riffs and a change in style is immediately noticeable.

The airy, rock-vocal style still holds strong throughout all of the new material, but the supporting music definitely shows a difference from previous work. This opening song succeeds with its set list position because the mysterious, captivating tones intrigue the audience. Track two, Kids These Days, picks up the momentum of the album with a rock and roll, edgy groove. The poppy, upbeat drive makes the song stick out amongst the rest of the tracks.

Climb On The Cross features a unique Shakey Graves style and further molds his special, eccentric folk sound into its own genre. The edgy, classic soul rhythm spices up the acoustic folk style that Shakey Graves has won over so many fans with. On Dining Along, Shakey returns to his mellow, acoustic roots for a breather and a more relaxed vibe. Track six Excuses sees a rise in energy that gets the album rocking again.

Cops And Robbers provides a tease at the beginning, as Shakey breaks into what seems to be a singer/songwriter, stripped back electric chord progression. Within ten seconds though, the drumbeat crashes and the rocking energy pushes the song through. Track nine Aibohphobia features a familiar oldies jingle recording that Shakey turns into his own folk/country tune.

On Big Bad Wolf, listeners will hear Shakey singing along to a dark, grungy beat. The song stands out as one of the more unique tracks on the album because it doesn’t follow the usual song format. The following Back Seat Driver then continues the dark, dismal vibe but still grabs listeners with sharp electric guitar riffs and heart felt vocal melodies. Foot Of Your Bed keeps the mellow, spooky theme alive and shows how even at the end of the album, the mood has remained in its entertainingly dull state.

Shakey Graves has put out another strong batch of songs that will surely keep his fans excited enough until another album of material surfaces.

Scott J. Herman