‘Awake Me’ manages to achieve a rare balance – although it could be classified in the ambient genre, it is a track which still possesses the power to move you, inside.
A bleak synth begins, before opening a whole envelope of sound, topped by tender acoustic arpeggios – creating an emotional soundscape within seconds. It releases the images of an uneasy relationship, whether with oneself or another it’s initially unclear, but beautifully expressed in the opening lines “Water flows over deserts you have made / The surface breaks.”
One of the most captivating qualities of this track from Rosie Carney is how soft, flowing vocals manage to speak of twisted and turbulent emotions. So much magnitude, from an artist aged just 19.
Angered imagery such as “breaks like the bones” combine with interwoven wordplay “there’s hell to pay” to explore the complication of interpersonal relationships, the difference between facades and feeling. It takes powerful music to make you think of your own self-identity within a single track, and ‘Awake Me’ does just that. Slow, almost slumberous guitar notes allow the lyrics to hit on hard emotions with emphasis: “I’ve been a fool for more than half of my life / I’ve tried to hide.”
With tones reminding me of a young Joni Mitchell, Carney reaches the chorus-like command of the title: “Awake me / But don’t break me.” This is an example of direct rhyme done well, especially as more music emerges from there-onward. Music then melts into the melody of birds singing around a plea which indeed expresses one of the most natural human wants in the world, the want for company in the lengths of life – “Don’t leave it too long.”
Yet this is a track not just of yearning, but self-learning, with a coming-of-age quality a little like Laura Marling’s work from the late 2000’s and certainly not melodramatic. The track progresses into a contemplation of closeness – with nature, with each other – speaking of “trees growing”, of “holding onto someone else’s hand.” Vocals hit spiralling heights, infused with the growth she alludes to – telling of hope, despite the turbulence. Having faced the difficulties of depression and an eating disorder, Carney’s personal experience adds additional pathos to this track. It tells of power against the odds.
‘Awake Me’ is out now, via X Novo Records. Purchase on iTunes here.