Sadly, the premises is more exciting than the result. Firstly, the pope’s contribution isn’t all that – he doesn’t sing on any of the tracks, he doesn’t play guitar, he doesn’t even try his fingers on the bass. Instead what we get is excerpts of old speeches punctuated by songs from unknown guest musicians. These speeches are mostly in Latin and Italian. Consequently, I got very little holy insight out of them.
The instrumentals meanwhile rather disappointingly aren’t all strictly rock. Opening with some Floydy synths, the album quickly meanders into Gregorian chanting, Latin and pop all of which manages to be impressively inoffensive. Most of it sounds like it’s off a Muzak CD, the kind they used to play in coffee shops and elevators back in the nineties.
Only the title track, ‘Wake Up!’, is truly worthy of a horns up – a melancholy guitar-driven track produced by Italian former prog rock artist Tony Pagliuca – and even this is ‘retirement home rock’ as opposed to ‘real rock’. Oh well, it’s still better than Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz.