Brimming with a new-found sense of confidence and purpose, While I Was Asleep is the sound of a refreshed and revitalized Darling West. The band is still playing their sweet Americana/country/folk, but there's a lot more drive in the music and the melodies are more magnetic and enchanting than ever before. Darling West's talent for insightful and honest storytelling is evidenced not least of all on the album's title track. Written across borders – penned in Brooklyn, NY and finished in Norway's Ål mountains – it's a song that captures vocalist Mari Sandvær Kreken's sensitivity to a pop melody, as she marries a sense of sadness and melancholia with her driving, propulsive, and heart-felt delivery.
Elsewhere, "After My Time" - one of the few songs from the album to have been written in their apartment in Oslo - meditates on notions of modern-day anxieties and mortality. Mari has said about the song; "It does something to you when you read about human destinies and experiences you hardly can imagine. It's difficult to take in, but at the same time it's important to not shut it out."
"Traveller" is a song that further exemplifies the band's thoughtfulness in their writing, as Mari continues; "Traveller tells the story of a restless soul, who made some choices in the past and are still haunted by them. Most of us entertain that thought sometimes; "What would have happened if...?". But for some it turns out to be a defining moment that they will always carry with them." Punctuated with Mari and Tor Egil Kreken's spine-tingling vocals and finger picked guitars - with Kjetil Steensnæs creating beautiful lines with his pedal steel, weaving in and out of a lush string section – "Traveller" is one of the album's highlights.