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Awake But Always Dreaming is a record about memory: the luminous and beautiful formation of memories and the devastating loss or slow, insidious damage to the mind.
The album has the feel of a dream where all of daily life is being expressed and decoded, from feverish rush-hours to the old sunlight of her grandmother’s fading memories. Peel switches between panoramic city images in ‘Standing On The Roof Of The World’ and the dissolving, hallucinogenic moments that define the second half of the album. The album’s closer is a cover of Paul Buchanan’s (The Blue Nile) ‘Cars In The Garden’ which returns memory to childhood – “find the place that we forgot.” Performed with her trademark music box and by way of a sublimely coaxed out, bittersweet duet with Hayden Thorpe from Wild Beasts, this is another fine shift in tone and perspective – from the grandeur and chaos of tracks such as ‘Foreverest’ to something very simple, surreal and yet utterly moving and memorable.