Sleeping At Last's Yearbook

February 03, 2011

by Chris Hess

[S]itting at this bar, sipping a coffee, and listening to this EP for the 6th time through, I can't tell you what I think about it. Not because I have secrets. Not because I’m afraid I would offend the very nice gentleman who sent it to me so I could write about it here. No, no. None of these. It is because—since I began listening to them several or so years ago—the music of Sleeping At Last is music I have to chew on for a while. Have you ever chewed on your coffee when it's in your mouth? Try it. More things will be revealed to your taste buds. Maybe the same happens with things in your brain, or your heart, or your ears. If we don't swallow them right away, they might develop a bit more, or reveal some things we weren't expecting could come from them. In October, Sleeping At Last began their Yearbook project. Put quite simply on their site: "We will write, record and release 3 brand-new songs EVERY month for an entire year!  That's 36 new songs in total, broken down into twelve 3-song digital EPs that will be available monthly!  " It is a commitment. On October 1, three songs arrived in the inboxes of subscribers. Others purchased them from the band's site that day. More waited a few days until they were available on iTunes. And this continues . . . November, December, January . . . and here we are at February. The creative process of Sleeping At Last is important to this. Each of the band's full-length albums are very structured—both in sound and in theme. The Yearbook project allows them to stretch a bit. Be more freely creative with sounds and themes. Artwork for each month is created by Geoff Benzing, inspired by happenings in nature that month. Migrations, survival, groupings, the northern lights. It is hemmed in and it is let out. A project of this ambition has the potential to start strong and meander. Or meander from the beginning and fizzle out. Or never finish. However, it's 5 months in and Yearbook seems to only be getting better . . . and it was plenty fine to start with. The songwriting is focused, which may indeed be due to the expanded allowance of creativity. With February, the arrangments seem to have hit full stride. I'm not one to use the word flourish when it comes to describing music...or the term depth. But these songs do flourish, and do so with a depth that can take you in if you let it. It IS hemmed in and it IS let out. But, this stride could be halted in the coming months. That is the beauty of this project. A new creative path could be found. Not knowing what to expect. Not knowing what there might be to chew on. The project follows the changing of months and seasons. The patterns of a year. The allowing of freedom within the obedience to a commitment. The seeing of what might happen if we allow things to develop. [Subscribe, buy, and learn all about Yearbook & Sleeping At Last on their site: sleepingatlast.com ]



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