Can't Wake Up, Shakey Graves' second official studio album is, to quote the artist himself, "...a dense album...hectic and a little uncomfortable...the most I've ever intentionally worked on a project, musically speaking, in terms of the scope of it and how much thought went into it." After a listen, you'll find no exaggeration in that statement. Can't Wake Up is the result of a broad metamorphosis from his previous work, setting aside the Americana singer/songwriter persona he'd cultivated thus far and opting for a more experimental, dream-like direction.
The record is full of interlacing musical and lyrical themes, and always has a slight sense of disorientation, almost as if the listener is immersed in a new dimension and hearing the voices of its inhabitants. Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the man behind the Shakey Graves moniker, also reflected that it's a record for those who need to hear it; it's for those who are walking in or have seen someone walk in darkness. The album's themes of feeling discordant with reality, of rejection, monotony, and also ecstasy and joyous youth speak to all realms of experience in every listener.
Can't Wake Up features collaborators Christopher Boosahda (drums), Patrick O'Connor (guitar), Jonathan Shaw (bass), and both songwriting and instrumental contributions from "honorary band member" Rayland Baxter.