Shakey Graves -- the stage name of Alejandro Rose-Garcia -- decided the time was ripe to shake things up on his fifth album, 2018's Can't Wake Up. Embracing a spacy cinematic sound, Graves doesn't forsake Americana. Folky roots-rock still anchors his music, sometimes crystallizing on a tougher number like "Excuses," but always present in either his meditations or rave-ups -- which is a roundabout way of saying that even after indulging in all this atmosphere, he's still a singer/songwriter at heart. Fortunately, he's one who does like to loosen up: "Cops and Robbers" comes across as a modern-day Marc Bolan, while "Aibohphobia" finds Graves indulging in a bit of vaudevillian shuffle and "Backseat Driver" floats along with an amiable dreaminess. These are moments that help puncture the heavy haze of widescreen guitars, ghostly harmonies, and murmured production, the elements that make Can't Wake Up seem to exist in a netherworld between consciousness and sleep. If Shakey Graves sometimes seems to overplay his arty hand, pushing the record toward the brink of murk, it's the price of ambition and there is much here to admire.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine