On Woke Myself Up, Julie Doiron plays with her Eric's Trip bandmates Mark Gaudet, Chris Thompson, and Rick White (who also produced the album) for the first time since the group broke up after 1996's Purple Blue. Even though the gang's all here, this isn't precisely an Eric's Trip reunion. However, it is one of the richer-sounding albums that Doiron has made in some time, and its gently insistent feel recalls some of Eric's Trip's more reflective songs. As always, her songwriting is incredibly intimate. Doiron shares vignettes like the title track, in which she needs to wake up to take a rest from the dreams she's having, and "You Look So Alive," a lovely, low-key ballad that deals with the aftermath of a breakup with little drama and a lot of compassion: "When we pass on the street/I won't look away if you don't look away." "Yer Kids," which begins simply and builds into a lot more, is another great example of her economic songwriting; its lyrics are little more than a glimpse or a sketch, but it's still compelling. Woke Myself Up is half airy, fresh-faced, largely acoustic songs that fit in with the rest of her solo work, such as "I Left Town," "Swan Pond" (which, with its delicate minor key melody, feels like a forgotten folk ballad), and the untitled closing track, and half plugged-in songs that are the closest Doiron has gotten to rock since her Eric's Trip days. Her minimalist approach works well even with a little rock muscle behind her: on "Don't Wannabe/Liked by You," she's defiant as she shouts and whispers, "I never wanna be in your bed...I never understood your scene," but the brash, then gentle, guitar and drums tell the rest of the story. Even at her loudest, Julie Doiron is a remarkably subtle artist. Woke Myself Up captures the wide range of sounds and emotions of her music, and all the nuances of them as well.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
feat: Neil Rough