Release Date: February 24, 2012
Reviewed by Megan Missler
A Sound Asleep – A Sound Asleep EP Available on: iTunes
Roughly a year ago, Patrick Hagen, a keyboard player with a vocal tone full of raw honesty, joined forces with Kasandra O’Connor, whose unique smooth tone blends with Hagen’s to create something new in A Sound Asleep. Forrest Saunders provides the beat for the group and Richard Casmass gives depth to the bass line. A Sound Asleep has added opening for Ascend The Hill and The Icarus Account to their list of accomplishments. They currently call Lakeland, Florida home.
A Sound Asleep released their debut, self-titled EP February 24th of this year. The EP opens with The City, a reflective song about learning from our experiences. The bridge suddenly drops all accompaniment then gradually builds. A word of warning: it may make you want to lift your hands, then hit your chest, then jump with hands out stretched when the chorus continues. There is huge potential live energy here.
The strong opening track is followed by a beautiful piano-driven ballad called Jesus Anchor. It is written to Christ, pleading for peace in the midst of turmoil. The plea is wrapped in a fantastic metaphor of a boat at sea in a terrifying storm.
Soul Sings, a praise song, and The Dream sort of blend together in the middle of the EP. The Dream stands out a bit more with a driving beat as it touches on an interesting idea. “And when I wake up it was all just a dream and you despise me…” When our worst fears surface, we must hold onto the hope in God’s promises.
These two songs are overshadowed by the amazing Isle Amor. Hagen’s vocals sore beautifully into folsetto, giving this song an ethereal, dreamlike quality. If one could capture the feel of Homer’s The Odessey in a song, this is it. There is a lovely acoustic guitar solo in the middle that changes the ambience. From here it gradually builds. When you feel it can’t get bigger, it does! Start to finish, the music reflects the enchanting, dreamy, sea-fairing lyrics. Putting the cry of a sea-gull in would not have been totally out of place here. Ok, maybe it would have.
Swear It So closes the EP with an anti-warrior’s song with a militant theme. The first chorus begins with a march-like snare, adding in some grinding electric guitar and rather clean guitar leads complimented by strings throughout. The song ends with “whoa’s” by multiple voices hinting at an attempt at an anthem. This song would benefit from a faster tempo. It sounds very different from the rest of the EP so it seems like this is outside the comfort zone for this group. I applaud them for doing so, unfortunately this recording comes across as awkward.
Every time I listen to this EP I catch new and thought-provoking lyrics. Sometimes A Sound Asleep tends to get repetitive at the end of each song. This is not a negative attribute because it enhances the emotion. It’s like a plea or a chant of the few words as the emotional intensity increases. They absolutely have a grasp on dynamics. Unfortunately, the mixing is rough in spots, which is evidence of the independent nature of the recording. There are moments where vocals are hard to understand or hear, especially in Swear It So. Though sometimes frustrating because a better mix would show off the talent of these musicians, this also gives the EP an honest, intimate flavor. If you come across A Sound Asleep at a show in your area, go support them. I hear immense potential on this EP.
Recommended Tracks: The City, Jesus Anchor, The Dream, Isle Amor
1. The City
2. Jesus Anchor
3. Soul Sings
4. The Dream
5. Isle Amor
6. Swear It So