“Askew” is the debut project from Berlin-based American duo Waking Dreams. The duo consists of musician, vocalist and performance artist Angela Chambers and her musical partner Jason Letkiewicz, with whom they share a long artistic relationship.
The album is at once misty and ethereal, but also pulsates with a steady, almost disco-meets 90s grunge meets 80s Euro rock vibe. The album maintains its groove throughout the entire set, and even develops into a more attractive and pulsating second half.
The album maintains its groove throughout the entire set
“Askew” opens strongly with the galloping “Etched,” at once bringing to mind post 70s comeback Broken English-era Marianne Faithful, and that’s no small comparison (there is even a flourish at the beginning of “Reaction” which also recalls “Broken English”). Chambers’ voice is a strong, assured asset which this reviewer feels could even be more front and centre in future projects. ‘Reaction’ and ‘Some’ push Letkiewicz’s confident guitar riffs out into the open, adding a further layer of interplay between two extremely adept musicians.
‘Reaction’ and ‘Some’ push Letkiewicz’s confident guitar riffs out into the open, adding a further layer of interplay
Side B begins with the cinematic, melancholic “Bird’s Eye View”, which lets Chambers showcase her flute playing skills and also clocks in as the album’s longest track. The song has an epic quality, brining to mind eternal landscapes through its almost ancient meets modern vibe, as well as its eerie vocal effects. Certain drum track effects utilized throughout bring to mind, of all things, Serge Gainsbourg’s reggae classic “Lola Rastaquouère”.
‘The Breeze’ incorporates a seductive disco vibe with its pulsating beat and clever use of strings
Following Side B’s opener, the songs take off into even more rewarding territories. “The Breeze” incorporates a seductive disco vibe with its pulsating beat and clever use of strings and “Runway” turns out being one of the album’s most immediate and driving tracks.
The album ends on a high note with the title track “Askew,” and almost leaves the listener wishing the song were twice as long, which, in and of itself, is a sign of wanting more to come from this very talented duo. All in all, an interesting and recommended listening experience.