Review Summary: Sleeping at Last deliver with beautiful, engaging songs.
Some bands are absolutely ripe with passion. Unfortunately, passion is completely and utterly subjective. Whether we are listening to black metal or indie rock, we imagine that the bands that we love are putting everything that they have in what they are creating for our ears. It gives us comfort, and allows us to feel an even greater connection to the music pouring from the headphones. We rise and fall with it, live and die with every declaration from the vocalist. That is what draws me to music in general; it is an intensely personal affair that is completely arbitrary. No matter what is happening in my personal life, I am still able to put an album on and let it take me away or if necessary, bring me even closer to my problems. Music has been the soundtrack to many of my realizations, and they provide a timestamp to my observations on things. Sleeping At Last create incredibly emotive songs that burst from the conventional song structures; the parts that shine seem to be greater than the whole. Singer and sole member Ryan O’Neal creates very pretty keyboard-based low key music, yet it seems to carry so much more weight than that. His soulful, quavering voice gives the minimalist music that surrounds it a simultaneous joyful and heart-rending feel. It also carries the melody into an incredibly beautiful territory, making you listen just a little bit harder to figure out exactly what he is trying to get out so desperately. The lyrics are strong, albeit very simple, such as those in opener “Bright & Early”:
“In the end I'm told
It taught me everything I know
That the wreckage left behind
Will somehow make me grow
But why couldn't I have been safe from the start
The warmth of blankets
Makes me nervous
I'd rather catch a cold”
Simplicity is key here, and that is why this release flourishes. It sounds like a man reflecting on his life, and the beauty here is that we don’t need to know the whole story in order to truly understand the emotion behind his words. The first two tracks of this three song EP for the installment of Yearbook-November
are nearly flawless in their simple execution. It takes me away to a dreamy, meandering place where O’Neal’s voice reminds me that the scrutiny of my own life sometimes needs to take a backseat to the beautiful simplicity of music, my longest friend and confidante.
"Bright & Early"