Sleeping at Last - Storyboards

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Sleeping at Last - Storyboards




When Sleeping at Last was first discovered by The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan back in 2002, they were sonically a completely different band. Their sounds was raw and guitar heavy, similar to The Smashing Pumpkins. In other words, if you listened to their first self released, Capture, disc, you probably wouldn’t recognize them as the same band. EachCD after Capture has progressed towards a more mellow, albeit equally as theatrical, sound. If one thing has remained constant through this transition, however, it is most definitely Ryan O’Neal’s earnest vocals coupled with his beautiful, poignant lyrics. He has a way of getting across messages in his lyrics no normal person could. A perfect example is in “Slow & Steady” in the lyrics “But we can’t dream when we’re wide awake/or fall in love with a heart too strong to break./Faith is expensive to taste/and time is borrowed loose change/that’s already been spent.” His lyrical prowess doesn’t stop there, however. It continues throughout the disc, complimenting every note of every melody perfectly.

Musically, this might be their most beautiful work to date. In what it lacks in the grandiose, epic beauty of Keep No Score, it makes up for in the gorgeous arrangements, performances, and overall songwriting put together by Ryan O’Neal, Dan Perdue, and each member of the orchestra that recorded with them. There are really no standout tracks due to the purity of each. A few tracks have lingering bits of Keep No Score left in them, such as “Slow & Steady” and “Timelapse”, but I cannot recall a single electric guitar in the arrangements on Storyboards. Instead, they are replaced by Ukelele, Acoustic Guitar, more strings than ever, flutes, and more. This is not to say that the arrangements are more cluttered than ever, though, as it is the exact opposite. The band did most of the arrangements themselves (save the strings, which are primarily done by them and Suzsan Voelz), and their continues to be a marked improvement from album to album. However, it may be the guest arrangers they brought in for a couple of songs that create the most room unique aspects of the album. Jeremy Larson jumped in to have some fun on “Chandeliers”, and if you are familiar with his work (which you should be. If you aren’t, go check him out), you will be able to tell. It still sounds like Sleeping at Last, but you can hear Jeremy’s hand playing around in the mix, stirring the instruments into a beautiful swirl. Then comes “Clockwork”, which is by far the most different from anything Sleeping at Last has done to date. The arrangement contributions on this track came from Van Dyke Parks, who has worked with the likes of the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Joanna Newsom, and arranged “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book. The song honestly sounds somewhat like a showtune, but not in a bad way. It energetically meanders through the melody, bringing to mind images of The Sound of Music and Singing in the Rain without sounding like a knock-off work. It manages to sound like a Sleeping at Last song while not sounding like one at all.

As I mentioned earlier, Sleeping at Last used ukelele in this album, but saying it in passing like that leads to an understated explanation as to its use. It finds its place as a main instrument in several songs, and rather then sounding like a gimmick to sell more albums (which it is far from), it sounds completely natural. To say that I am glad that they discovered the power of this instrument in their music would be to say that lightning provides a small amount of light.

Sleeping at Last dives into new territory on Storyboards, but keeps the same general formula that has made fans of thousands of people already. It continues their musical progression in the perfectly, and each album, they get better. This is no exception.

9.0/10

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Sleeping at Last - Storyboards :: Comments

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Post on Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:10 am by torchestogether!

again, very good. i'm a big fan of this band now, haha.

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