Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The story that Sleep Out lead singer Quinn Goodwillie gives in accompaniment for the contents of the song "Our Way Down," should have really yielded three or four songs, an EP even. It's an true life, epic, worst case scenario of Goodwillie and his brother as they traveled abroad in Europe over 10 years ago. They hopped on the last train back to their friend's home in Rosenheim, Germany, joining some stowaways in the luggage car, which wasn't the least bit insulated and that became important as the train traveled through the Alps during the overnight hours and the t-shirts and shorts that the two Americans were wearing weren't cutting it. They froze like meat hanging in a butcher's locker before finally getting to their destination and having to wait longer to get warm because of the ungodly hour and a gentleman's code not to disturb their friend as she slept. They finally got in when the morning got there and they promptly tried to sleep, but Goodwillie awoke shortly thereafter with a racing heartbeat and a fear that it was going to burst on his inside, sending him to an early grave. He finally got to sleep and the next day he started drinking. It's a recollection that should bear multiple pieces of music and page after page of lyric. It could be the plot for an Irvine Welch novel or some kind of depressing, though hijinks ensuing Wes Anderson movie - the sequel to "The Darjeeling Limited." But it's not drug-addled or demented, it's more the touching story of getting stuck in a spot and facing some adversity before all works out, sleep is caught, a good meal is eaten, the tale is recounted as high entertainment, some glasses are clinked together in brotherhood and friendship and a legend is born. Or one single song comes from it - a song that shines as a brush of glamorous, Midwestern indie rock, bred from the kinds of proud influences such as those coming from listening to Smoking Popes records while still downing enough moping, moody British rock and roll from the Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen vein to add even more spice and character to the proceedings. Goodwillie sings so melodically and warmly, getting going like the flight of kite or the falling of the mercury in a thermometer, just letting the words sweetly swim through the currents, bumping and riding as they can, making a dreamy blend of a sky full of stars and a frightening walk through the dark. There are folks getting let down and there are characters trying hard not to have that happen. The songs on "Not Even Dust," the band's latest, are songs of hopeful redemption, of people shaking their heads manically like wet dogs, trying to get their eyes to adjust and see things clearly. There always seems to be a residue that won't let things just be cool, as if the glasses can't just simply and easily be clinked in friendship and camaraderie. Some miss the train, freeze almost to death and stay lost, but the stammering tongues and the reasons for the disasters seem to come into the light in time - when the burns diminish and the swelling subsides.
Sleep Out Official Site