About Sleeping at Last
The big sound of Sleeping At Last started in the basement of a home in Wheaton, Illinois.
With brothers Ryan O'Neal on guitar, Chad O'Neal on drums, and friend Dan Perdue on bass this sound rose from its unlikely nest, escaping first on a self-released EP back in '99, evolving on a follow-up CD a few years later, and now in flight on Ghosts (2003), their Interscope debut. Pulsing bass, insistent rhythm, guitars that chime like carillons and roar like surf in a storm, all of it surging beneath Ryan's soaring vocals: This is the music of Sleeping At Last.
Within that music, visions unfold, of inspiration and hope, of surviving daily strife to "find your soul" and "say all the things you really want to say" in the anthem "Say," and drawing close to "the city of lights … a little place to close our eyes, to end this chase" on "A Skeleton of Something More," and promising in "Hurry" that "the world is ours, if only we can let it be."
Since the release of 2003’s Ghosts, the members of Sleeping At Last have logged in thousands of miles on the road, earned heaps of critical acclaim and continue to refine its well-oiled alternative rock machinery. From early spot dates with Zwan to touring with Switchfoot and Bleu to time with Yellowcard, Something Corporate and The Format to a solo headlining jaunt, the Chicago-based trio has amassed a considerable following in all parts of the globe, connecting with its artistic melting pot of swelling anthems and lyrical sincerity. Along the way, the group also scored the sublime single “Say,” which shot straight to the top of Fuse TV’s “Oven Fresh,” leading to the band’s encore appearance on the network’s most popular program “IMX.”
Such a series of appearances has built anticipation for its second national release Keep No Score (2006), which released to a flurry of attention, starting with a soundtrack slot for the song “Quicksand” on the Season 3 premiere of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
Though there’s no specific theme that ties all the tracks together, an underlying sense of hope seems to seep into each selection. Whether it be the momentum building lead track “Tension & Thrill,” the emotionally anchored “Careful Hands” or the orchestrated ebb and flow throughout “Levels of Light,” the lyrics are steeped in openness, honesty and vulnerability. The group’s two favorites “Envelopes” and “Needle & Thread” possess an obvious immediacy, unfurling with atmospheric bliss and poetic ease.
“Each song means something specific to me and I choose the words and imagery based on exactly how I feel,” Ryan continues. “The thing I love about lyrics and songwriting in general is how much weight there can be in a single line. There’s always different ways people can interpret a song, but our writing has progressed to a point where I’ve chosen my words more carefully to try and say things in the most interesting way possible.”
“Besides being the name of the record, Keep No Score as the title track sums up in general what human beings want out of life,” summarizes Ryan. “You go through a series of emotions throughout every day, and when something doesn’t go as planned, you want to start over, try again and do better next time. We’ve reached a place where we’re happier now than we’ve ever been before. What you’re hearing is exactly who we are and where we want to be.”
"We approached this record more organically than anything else we have ever done before," Ryan O'Neal says. The result is an album that moves smoother and carries much more weight than their previous releases. Whereas Ghosts felt like separate pieces are artificially pieced together, Keep No Score feels complete, with underlying themes of hope and immediacy, especially in the face of death. Also present are more hints of faith and heaven than in their previous work.
"Our faith is a big part of who we are," Ryan O'Neil states, "but we have always intended our music to be for anyone that cares to listen, no matter who they are or what they believe in. Everyone hears a song in a different light."