With her literal lyrics and minimal musicianship, Julie Doiron has often been considered a musical emperor wearing no clothes, which is odd, considering the endless love for Doiron's old band Eric's Trip, a droney folk-rock outfit that was the first of several ballsy Canadian signings for Subpop. And even odder given that Doiron consistently delivers well-honed albums.
Doiron's solo albums have all been spare. Woke Myself Up holds steady with small and awkward songs that have enough teeth to hurt. It's always exciting to hear from Doiron about the bits and pieces of a workaday existence -- though she tours often enough, Doiron is keenly focused on the kind of family life that is rarely had and less rarely acknowledged in indie rock (she and her artist husband have three kids and are sequestered in the tiny college town of Sackville, New Brunswick).
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The songs here that don't focus on motherhood are solidly concerned with endings and good-byes. "Me and My Friend" is two steps away from Hemingway-style bareness, likewise the catchy "No More." "The Wrong City" is a most affecting track, and "Untitled," a last-minute, last-track addition to the record, is heartbreaking. Doiron manages to be as painfully honest as songwriting icons like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, though her lyrical candor is coupled with a fragile voice and plunky guitar that many find sleep-inducing or just uncomfortable.