Saturday, April 30, 2011

Album Review: Sleeping at Last - Yearbook - April EP

Most bands just try to put out an album maybe every year (or two, or three...).  Sleeping at Last, on the other hand, is putting out 3 songs every month for 12 months, meaning they will have 3 albums' worth of content by the end of the year.  It takes a special band to attempt such a monstrous undertaking; and so far, the level of consistent quality the band has maintained is a mark of what kind of band Sleeping at Last is. But in the stretch of 36 songs, written and recorded at such a pace, there were always bound to be weak points. April is one of these weaker installments in the project. 

"Tethered" is by far the strongest track on the EP, giving Ryan O'Neal a chance to really push his fragile vocals in the soaring, emotive chorus.  The song breaks the band's tendency for inscrutable lyric symbolism for this honest song about marriage.  The instrumental progression from plucked strings, to piano riff, to full chorus instrumentation gives "Tethered" a bigger scope than either of the other two songs, which are both slightly more understated.  "Intermission" is rhythmically steady with an odd pulsing synthesized instrumentation and "In the Meantime" is a gentle song with full strings, but in the end has the effect of a floral pattern--pretty, but a bit dull and predictable.  

Sleeping At Last has always suffered somewhat from a case of a very uniform sound--it's a beautiful, unique, ethereal sound, but many of the songs sound the same.  This month's EP, April, marks the middle point of the journey the band began in October so if there were a month in which the band were allowed a misstep, this would be it, but here's hoping the rest of the project will take more risks.

Track Listing:
1. Tethered
2. Intermission
3. In the Meantime

buy April EP here.

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