Awake Like Sleep CD (BING-028)
Greg Weeks – guitars, vocals, mellotron, harmonium, mini-moog, omnichord
“9/10″ “Weeks is the troubadour of 2000 for all the people that won’t buy Nick Drake albums because of the VW association. A perfect album to sleep to. Lullabies for the out-of-working class.” -Vice
“Night caps don’t get any better than this.” -Exclaim
“Beautiful if despairing ballads from an obviously gifted singer-songwriter and musician.” -Ptolemaic Terrascope
This seemingly profound title is meant to squish the brain a bit upon first hearing it. Like listening to a record mixed completely out of phase, it applies pressure to a brain expecting something clear and correct, but finding something strange and not so easily understood instead. The same may be true of the initial visceral responses of listeners familiar with Weeks’ previous folk works, Fire In The Arms Of The Sun (Ba Da Bing!) and the Bleecker Station EP (Keyhole/Ptolemaic Terrascope), for Awake Like Sleep is neither too alike nor so much apart from the sound of those earlier records.
I don’t wish to give too much away here, but as with some of the more formidable releases from the folk-psych acts of the early 70s (McDonald And Giles’ self-titled one-off and Comus’ First Utterance come immediately to mind), Weeks has applied a loose thematic structure to these nine songs. It is possible, but unwise, to judge these songs solely on an individual basis, for they are arranged and structured so as to feed and accent each others’ thematic (as well as the melodic) ideas. This isn’t The Wall or any pretense so grand; it is merely one man’s means of explaining to others the physical and psychological world within which he lives. In other words, Weeks is once again dumping his troubles on us. The rat bastard.
I hazard to guess that the opening track of Awake Like Sleep will alarm some folks. Others may feel a sense of personal betrayal, wanting so much to hear the dulcet, acoustic tones and quietistic self-hatred of the known Weeks, as opposed to the brash and experimental throes of “These Days” and beyond. And yet, even here the Weeks tradition continues, utilizing yet another familiar title from music past to further the agenda of his own quasi-folk lineage (Nico here, Leonard Cohen on Fire, and Swervedriver (!?) on Bleecker — but hell, at least he’s relegated references to Tracey Emin to his bonus tracks, the pretentious arse!).
None of this matters in the end, however, which is Weeks’ own point, I guess. Death, illness, innocence lost, soiled or regained is the crux of the matter here, and you can view it as sympathetically or as critically as you like. I suppose it will all depend on your vantage point, your own physical and mental deportment. But Greg Weeks welcomes you into his world, and wants you to enjoy this music on whatever level you can or are willing to. Hell, that’s why he’s soaked it in Mellotron, the sweetest and most sickly of instrument to grace this green planet. Doodle-lee Doo.
(R. J. Stipes)
Link to www.gregweeks.net