Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Sleeping At Last reviewed

| October 14, 2009



Sleeping At Last will be one of Chicago’s great what-ifs. Handpicked to open one of the first few Zwan gigs and given time to craft a sweeping, Radiohead-style debut, their success only seemed a matter of when.

But for reasons unknown, the band withdrew and existed myth-like on fan message boards, not unlike the way Sunny Day Real Estate did after their initial breakup. They took three years to follow-up their Interscope debut, Ghosts, with the independently released Keep No Score. Our Carter Moss caught them on that 2006 tour’s opener in a former Naperville church, and found the show hopeful, and riding a boost from a song rented by “Grey’s Anatomy.” Then they withdrew again.

Storyboards arrived with no advance warning and little fanfare at IE, fitting its understated, lullaby style. Only one track, “Timelapse,” threatens to break a sweat. Mostly, “Storyboards” is built around Ryan O’Neal’s soaring, forlorn pipes, reacting to his emotional state with crying strings (at one juncture arranged by the great Van Dyke Parks) or a cymbal splash. “Clockwork” unveils a Judy Garland-style ballad, while opener “Porcelain” runs astride the organic evolution of Sigur Rós. The Sunny Day Real Estate comparison above is no accident; the lyrics are locked in battle with faith and searching for it in the elements (“Slow & Steady”), deception (“Naive”), and over time (“All This To Say”).

It’s an ambitious, wide-lens album with as many questions as answers. If only they’d get out more.


— Steve Forstneger


Category: Spins, Weekly

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