Michael Grubbs has taken an odd road to becoming Wakey!Wakey!, from a childhood sat in front of a baby grand piano, to touring with two musicals, to settling in Brooklyn under the wing of anti-folk musician Lach.
Nowhere are the lessons learned on this odd road better showcased than on Wakey!Wakey!’s debut UK single ‘Light Outside’, due for release July 18th. It boasts touches of timeless orchestral arrangements – informed by Grubbs’ unlikely fascination with Gershwin and Beethoven – a glistening pop sheen so spotless you can see your reflection in it, and an enthralling urgent climax that you can’t take your eyes (well, ears?) off.
Much has also been made of Grubbs’ distinctive voice, but you just need to look at the piles of critical acclaim poured upon, for example, the syringe gargling, gravel milkshake drinking vocals of Wu Lyf to see that distinctive voices are the order of the day. Not that Grubbs’ vocals are anything so abrasive – he sings in a much more traditional and talented style, but with a corrupted, striking quality that injects personality into a fresh take on an exhausted genre.
The debut album, Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You, unlike most of piano power pop’s more credible divisions, also has a shot at the commercial big time through Grubbs’ recurring appearances on American drama One Tree Hill (which this particular writer assumes is angsty rich kids drivel, but if it’s good enough for Bon Iver’s tunes then who am I to argue?). Either way, the record, coming to CD racks near you this August, looks set to cash in on all the talent and experience Grubbs has taken so long working for.
“Almost Everything I wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You” is out now on Family Records and you can check out lead single ‘Light Outside’, or find out more at wakeywakeymusic.com