Rich, thick, and somber, Awake and Alert’s Devil in a Lambskin Suit is moody and subtle in its execution. Finely crafted with deep and sometimes haunting landscapes, the album’s only shortcoming is its repetition.
The Arizona quartet’s deep and atmospheric feel is initially striking. Minimalist instrumentation weights every note and tone with importance as Awake and Alert conveys emotion and melancholy in minor key.
The head nodding “Ready or Not” is an accomplished mix of pop rock and orchestrated strings. Similar to something you might hear from Evanescence, this is one of the two common sounds found throughout Devil in a Lambskin Suit. “Ready or Not” relies on harder rock and Peart’s unrestrained voice while the other side of Awake and Alert is syrupy with sweeping landscapes.
Awake and Alert shows power and poise with either sound. Maya Peart’s voice soars over the album’s canvas, almost elevating to an angelic level in tracks like “Let the Autumn Lift Me” and “Starry-Eyed Visions.”
“Eternal Life” balances Peart’s sweet vocals with a simple guitar line and reverberating electric bass. Intimate and emotive, this track is noteworthy for its ability to convey so much with such minimal sound and production. Overall the band shows depth and intelligence, but lacks in variety.
Within a few songs the album’s monotonous uniformity becomes drab. Awake and Alert possesses talent and potential, and if the band is willing to use their assets to broaden their horizons in the future, they’ll make more of an impact than they did with Devil in a Lambskin Suit.
By Lauren Proctor