By Madeleine Chaput
Singer, songwriter Ryan O’Neal has embraced his musical journey under the moniker of Sleeping At Last for years and once again, captivated listeners. Atlas, a year-long EP project, enchanted audiences with its gorgeous composition and unique sound.
Sleeping At Last began in 1999 as a Chicago-Based teenage garage band. Originally, the band consisted of the O’Neal brothers (Ryan and Chad), and bass guitarist, Dan Perdue. The group acquired a significant fan base and opened for bands such as Kill Hannah and Plain white T’s. In 2002 the band signed with Interscope Records and has since evolved to original songwriter, Ryan O’Neal’s solo career as he continues to produce an intriguing thread of work.
O’Neal’s vocals and established sound for Sleeping At Last is, in some ways, strikingly different to many of his contemporaries such as Lovedrug, The Vespers and Fiction Family. There is an intense sincerity in O’Neal’s lyrics which are strongly complimented by the melodies and the slower tempo associated with Sleeping At Last’s sound.
Sleeping At Last’s latest project, Atlas, is a three part series consisting of the EP’s ‘Light’, ‘Darkness’ and ‘Space’ which follow the band’s indie rock trajectory in the most raw and honest manner. The EPs separately grapple with different elements of hopeless situations and various disappointments, yet they have a unique tendency to leave listeners hopeful despite the lack of simple, sure answers.
The melodies, lyrics and soul that emerge from an impeccably sincere place, create an astounding depth to the work. “In The Embers”, arguably one of the more emotionally evoking tracks on the ‘Light’ EP, oozes with passion and authentic sentiments. In its entirety, the Atlas series follows this thread of genuine and beautiful vulnerability, inviting listeners to engage with and truly ‘feel’ the music.
The simple metallic instruments and cinematic tunes do not override the intense vocals, but rather fuse together to form a magnificent sound. The clear, raw vocals add a layer profound sentimental value that radiates through every song.
Cynics would be rightfully disappointed, but hopeless romantics will relish in Sleeping At Last’s Atlas, particularly the ‘Light’ EP. This ‘warm and fuzzy’ feel good kind of music reassures a broken heart and comforts a disappointed soul. Atlas leaves listeners pleasantly smiling and filled with trickles of inspiration.