Release Date: 01/11/11
The January EP is Sleeping at Last's fourth release in their Yearbook project that has them releasing one 3-song EP every month for a year. The project is the latest development in the independent world's avoidance of the full-length record and upsetting of the music industry. So far, having released three consistently successful EP's (October, November, and December), the duo's stripped down and more experimental sound has worked to great effect for them. The big emo-rock of their early, more mainstream music feels like a distant cousin to the subtle electronics and piano-led tracks off of these EPs. Even still, although they sing that "The future is brighter than any flashback" in the EP opener, one can only wonder if their mellowed out pop sound will begin to grow old 12 EPs down the road. Yet for now, Sleeping at Last has continued to dress their sweet little pop songs in interesting production and disarming craftsmanship that keeps the songs feeling fresh.
The January EP begins with "January White", which is probably of the weaker tracks in the Yearbook project so far. If you have held back the cynic in your mind long enough to get through "Snow" off the December EP though, then "January White" shouldn't push you over the edge. Its unfortunate because the song does some interesting things, but never quite enough to convincingly compensate for the cliche New Year optimism. Luckily, it is followed by a gorgeous instrumental track that depicts the season to much greater effect in "The Ash is In Our Clothes". Led by a film-score ready piano line, the song bounces with orchestral flourishes and an enchanting atmosphere that will have you wishing the track didn't end so soon. The aural feast transitions into the bubbly electronics that introduce the EP closer, "Wire", a song about living abundantly in every moment of life we are given. "Wire" is the new Sleeping at Last at their best: light and understated, but charged by meaningful lyrics and catchy melodies.
Sleeping at Last isn't do anything revolutionary here, but they are quietly rediscovering themselves in the independent world without losing their keen ear for pop melodies. If the January EP is any indication of the EPs to come, I wouldn't at all be surprised if the future keeps on getting brighter for Sleeping at Last.
Sleeping at Last - Wires