Are You Awake

Are You Awake is the first full length album from now infamously on hiatus and influential Winnipeg shoegazers Blisters. The album was recorded three years ago for a Montreal label that went belly up, so it was just released independently last year. 

Produced and mixed by Riley Hill in Winnipeg, the album’s sound is dark and gloomy but is full of moments that are beautiful and uplifting, brought to you by goosebump inducing guitar layering of Daniel Monkman and Skitty Popes and vocal harmonies buried beneath halls of reverb. 

The collection of eight songs maintains clear influences from bands like My Bloody Valentine and Galaxie 500 (especially on “Attic”), giving the band a hazy and deep emotional sound. Lizzy Burt sings with Monkman on most of the songs, and her voice is the perfect complement. She brings the songs to a higher level of emotion and provides a human element to the woozy layers upon layers of guitar and effects. 

Monkman’s songwriting takes the album to bright heights; his lyrics (when audible) are nostalgic and regretful. On the album’s opener, they sing, “Come along to the playground, They don’t play like they use to.” The flow of the album is perfect as the songs blend interestingly and sweetly into one another. 

The attention to detail throughout is impressive and gives the album consistent playability. Only 40 of these albums exist on the planet and with album artwork reminiscent of the X-Files, Are You Awake feels as if it is from a different plain of existence. 

- Gil Carroll

Published in Volume 70, Number 14 of The Uniter (January 7, 2016)

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