Sounds like … epic and ethereal alternative rock a la Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Sigur Ros, and even the experimental era of Brian Wilson

At a glance … their most ambitious, introspective and entertaining album, thanks to a little help from Van Dyke Parks and a slew of indie heavy-hitters

Sleeping At Last is one of alternative rock's best-kept secrets, but more are bound to learn about them through the magnetic appeal of this project. Not only does the band—which has toured with Switchfoot, Something Corporate, and Zwan—turn in a top-notch album filled with surging dynamics and contemplative ballads, but the songwriting is amongst its most insightful and compelling to date.

The gorgeous "Porcelain" kicks off the record with Ryan O'Neal's yearning vocals, bathed in a calming ukulele and stunningly arranged string section that could appeal to fans of Radiohead or Sigur Ros and the Beach Boys' more experimental side. Speaking of that latter act, Van Dyke Parks—who frequently collaborated with the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson—produces/arranges "Clockwork," easily the group's most innovative to date, loaded with cinematic charm and orchestral grandeur. 

Topically, the tone rotates between overcoming personal roadblocks, to thanking God for painting such a vast creative canvas, to marveling at nature's many wonders. Add an all-star supporting cast like mixer John Goodmanson (Death Cab for Cutie), engineer Greg Norman (Guided By Voices), multi-instrumentalist Ryan Francesconi (Joanna Newsom), plus woodwinds player Paul Von Mertens (Wilco, Paul McCartney), and Sleeping At Last is on the verge of something extraordinary. 

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Our Rating
4½ Stars - Excellent
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Release Date
September 15, 2009
Label
Sleeping At Last
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