Artist: Sleeping at Last Album: Atlas: Enneagram Year: 2019 Grade: B
In Brief: While there isn’t as much interactivity between these songs as I had imagined there might be, the musical diversity and attention to detail in exploring each personality type makes it a worthwhile series of character studies. And with nine tracks exploring a consistent theme, it’s the closest thing to a traditional album that SAL has put out since the Space series during Year One.
Artist: Sleeping at Last Album: Atlas: Intelligence EP Year: 2017 Grade: B+
In Brief: Three songs about the body, heart, and mind, in Sleeping at Last’s expected baroque pop style. The electronic pulses and plethora of subtle sounds working in tandem on “Mind” are an excellent touch, but aside from that, there’s not much new here.
Artist: Sleeping at Last Album: Atlas: Emotions EP Year: 2016 Grade: A-
In Brief: While the lyrics do a great job of explaining the inner workings of each human emotion, the music doesn’t always live up to the emotion being expressed. It’s still a worthwhile and intriguing new entry in the Atlas series, but it’s more of a study than an actual experience of emotion.
Artist: Sleeping at Last Album: Atlas – Oceans EP Year: 2014 Grade: B+
In Brief: The all-instrumental Oceans completes a musical suite that began during the Yearbook days. While nothing here sounds radically out-of-bounds for Sleeping at Last, it is nice to hear two of my favorite tracks from that earlier collection reprised along with three more in a similar vein, each attempting to capture the “personality” of our planet’s vast seas.
Artist: Sleeping at Last Album: Atlas – Land EP Year: 2014 Grade: C+
In Brief: A disappointingly short and sparse EP, even by Sleeping at Last’s mellow standards. Musically, the songs don’t really capture the spirit of travel, or life on the far reaches of the map that they aim to describe.
Artist: Sleeping at Last Album: Atlas – Space 2 EP Year: 2013 Grade: B
In Brief: The Outer Planets don’t get as solid of a suite as the Inner Planets, with a few feeling like mere afterthoughts. Despite punting slightly on the theme, the two Space EPs are satisfying as a whole and are best listened to as a complete work, just as Darkness and Light were intended to be.
Artist: Sleeping at Last Album: Atlas – Space 1 EP Year: 2013 Grade: A-
In Brief: “Planets as people.” That’s what these songs are going for, personifying the characteristics of the major bodies in our solar system. The music may not be as radical a shift from the usual SAL sound as I would have liked given such a grand concept, but it’s another solid entry in the Atlas series.
Sleeping at Last had a slot in the “Make Music Festival” today, which featured about 100 bands all playing different venues in my hometown of Pasadena, California. I had heard of about 1% of those bands, so SAL was the only one we stuck around to see. It was nice to hear them in an outdoor venue, with a full band arrangement including a string trio. That made a lot of the Yearbook songs sound truer to their album versions, plus the one older song played, “Umbrellas”. I’ve heard SAL play that one every time I’ve seen them live since Keep No Score was brand new, and this was definitely the best arrangement of it so far. I wish more new material from Atlas had been played – only “Uneven Odds” made an appearance – but it was a rather short set, only seven songs, so presumably they had to stick with stuff that passersby might have stood a chance of recognizing. Free show in a city park and all that.