Pull Awake by June Star is a fantastic album of Americana-ish songs that are fused with country, pop and rock influences. Driven by the gritty baritone voice of lead singer/songwriter Andrew Grimm, the songs feel both ancient and contemporary at the same time. Some of this has to do with the well-crafted songs, but the excellent production and engineering certainly contributes to this as well.
From the aching pedal-steel guitars that swim around in “House Call” to the subtle knee-slap like percussion and Rhodes-like keys in the banjo driven “Walk Away,” each instrument is treated smartly and crafted carefully for each song.
Songs like “Tether,” “Wonders” and Proof are great examples of radio friendly songs with clever catchy hooks. “Passed Over” sounds like early Wilco meets Beck (when he’s in his folk persona), led by palm-muted guitar and a crisp snare sound. “Coma” contains a catchy hook with some half-time breaks for contrast. “House Call” is probably the best song on the album with lush country harmonies and sly lyrics that border on the edge between sad and funny.
“Atrophy” has a nice harmonica solo over brushed snare drums, but the refrain is a bit repetitive. Some more development in this song would be nice (although perhaps it is in reference to the title). “Apollo” has a stoner-rock vibe with grunge-y guitars over a head-nodding beat.
The album concludes with “The King Is Dead” which is a stark stripped down song containing only acoustic and pedal steel guitar underneath Grimm’s voice. It’s a haunting conclusion with a very catchy hook, and an interesting hushed way to end the album.
Overall, June Star has lots of talent in songwriting, performance and production. By combining all of their strengths, they’ve really caught lightning in a bottle.
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