I first came across Wakey Wakey when I fell in love with their dog. Of course, the dog knows nothing of my devotion because I have only ever seem him on the video for Wakey Wakey’s “Homeless Poets”. Nevertheless, the pooch’s capacity to take the role of super-hero pup and make it his own stole my heart.
The song was pretty catchy too, and the good news is that it appears on Wakey Wakey’s new album Overreactivist, released on 26 February.
The dog (whose name is Buster) has a couple of cameo appearances on the album. However, I’m most impressed by the down-to-earth musicality of the piece which, while exploring a range of themes and moods, shows that Wakey Wakey are consummate composers and musicians. There is not a beat, tone, note or expression out of place.
“Adam and Eve” is possibly my favourite track on the album. Its simple, stripped-back intro holds the age-old story of lost love perfectly, allowing the song to build into a fully-fledged rock crescendo ‘…as I live and as I breathe, the more I love the more you leave‘ before falling back into the final, teasing line ‘…you can get me into trouble‘. Does she? We want to know!
The album is given a change of pace with the title track, “Overreactivist”. Michael Grubbs, the creative force behind Wakey Wakey, describes the album as intensely personal, and it is this track that stands out as autobiographical, along with the slower and dreamier “Golden”, which speaks of the aspirations and fears of youth from the reassuring perspective of someone who knows things have a habit of working out. ‘…it’s gonna be alright, you’re going to be golden, you’re gonna be falling in love before you know it’.
If you needed any more of a pick-me-up, “Homeless Poets” delivers, with or without the video and the dog.
Just when you think you’ve got the measure of this band and their style, the album drops down again into the melancholy of “Freeze”, the vaguely sinister “Cruel Like You”, and the warmly nostalgic “Big Town Love”, before reminding us of what matters in this world with the simple sentiments of “Light and Nothing More”. ‘…there is nothing more important to me than you‘. Spoiler alert – look out for orchestration that sounds like it should be a wedding march before finishing with…yes, the dog.
Enjoy Overreactivist as a well structured and accomplished collection of songs from a musicians that clearly know their craft, or connect with a deeper message which swings from hope to disillusionment and back again. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Read an interview with Michael Grubb and his collaborator and producer Chris Cubeta here.
Get a free download of “Adam and Eve” here
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