Saturday 14 August 2010

I’m Awake

With I’m Awake, Life is Sweet enters ever deeper nooks and crannies of introversion and intimacy as we reach what for me is its finest song. Haunted and haunting, I’m Awake has a stately grace, elegance and beauty - but that doesn’t mean it lacks the serrated edge of paranoia. This is Life is Sweet after all. Even here there has to be conflict, both inner and outer.

Standout moment of I’m Awake has to be McKee’s guitar solo. Coming straight after the line, “I live to die again in your arms,” it genuinely captures the feel of approaching death. As you listen you can practically see the Grim Reaper making his way across the room towards you. It’s by far McKee’s best solo on the album and, giving way as it does, to ice cold strings, it’s enough to send a shiver down the hardiest of spines.

After the solo, the song effectively drifts away, as though lost in some dark reverie, its coda repeatedly switching between Major and Minor as though not sure whether to bask in the warmth and hope of the rising sun or to dwell on the events of the night before.

It’s a remarkable piece of music, spiritually and technically as good a song as McKee’s ever written. Praise too should go to David Nolte and Ric Kavin for their bass and drum work. Their playing’s very much of its time but quality enables art to transcend its time and so the track sounds as fresh now as it ever did upon release.

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