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Sunny Day Real Estate - Sunny Day Real Estate

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 24 / 9 / 2009



Sunny Day Real Estate - Sunny Day Real Estate

intro

Carl Bookstein examines the career of early 1990s emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate, who have recently had their first two albums, 'Diary' and 'LP2', re-released


Arising out of Seattle, Washington in the early 1990s, Sunny Day Real Estate were among the most influential bands to help define the musical movement known as emo. Although they came out of Seattle in the heart of the grunge era, Sunny Day Real Estate put forth an altogether different sound. Theirs was a blend of emo that was emotional, romantic and distanced from the political nature of punk, while still within the world of punk rock. In synch with the current reunion tour of Sunny Day Real Estate’s original line up, the band’s first two albums, 'Diary' and 'LP2' have been remastered and reissued. 1994’s 'Diary', the band’s debut was a landmark album that helped kick off emo’s second wave. 'LP2' or 'The Pink Album' as it was known was released shortly after the time of the band’s break up in 1995. 'Diary' is among the highest selling albums in the Sub Pop label’s history. 'LP2' is held in similarly high regard. Following a more than 10 year hiatus, all four original members of this pioneering band have regrouped for their current US tour. Sunny Day Real Estate includes Jeremy Enigk (lead vocals, guitar), Nate Mendel (bass), William Goldsmith (drums) and Dan Hoerner (guitar, vocals). The band’s most distinctive attribute is Jeremy Enigk’s voice. When Sunny Day Real Estate hit, Enigk’s yearning strained falsetto sounded unlike any other voice in indie rock. It imbued the music with a previously unrealised level of emotion. Enigk sang desperately about losing himself and subsuming himself in something greater. At the time of the band’s break up, Enigk had become a born again Christian. Sunny Day Real Estate were genuinely influential as their ambitious sound challenged other bands to reach further. Their members were accomplished musicians who utilized intricate songwriting and sweeping epic sound. 'Diary' was filled with songs with aching emotional impact. During recording sessions for the second album, internal tensions resulted in the band’s sudden break up. By the time of the November 1995 release of 'LP2', Goldsmith and Mendel had joined Foo Fighters and Enigk had begun a solo career. The band has reunited since, but until now without its full cast. According to Mendel, “We left behind all these weird and beautiful songs… I’m really happy that we have got a chance to play them together again.” As a quartet starting out, the band honed its material through extended practice sessions rather than live in front of an audience. According to Jeremy Enigk, “The atmosphere was so inspired and electric. We felt we were tapping into something pretty special.” The songs on 'Diary' are packed with raw emotion, making the music both compelling and at times almost painful to listen to. These songs are at once evocative, intense and emotionally revealing. 'Seven', the opener, comes barrelling out of the gate with furious drumming and the crush of the guitar line. Enigk’s high register singing connects as he tells of “December’s tragic drive when time is poetry and stolen the world outside.” 'In Circles' goes from quiet to loud and back again in a powerful dynamic. Drums and guitar are in the forefront. The bass line is steady. Enigk comes through with a lovely vocal, “Meet me there/in the blue where words are not and feeling remains.” 'Song about an Angel' finds the band playing together beautifully. Enigk’s vocal captures a cathartic scream as the apt lyric follows (“The earth cries ease the pain"). 'Round' features electric guitar and angst (“I feel wrong.What’s wrong with me?”). On '47' Enigk’s falsetto vocal is inspired (“Swallow whole/lose myself in you/take a chance with me”). Songs of sincere emotion all. 'LP2', Sunny Day Real Estate’s second album is less romantically over the top and is more introspective. The tempos and beats are slower on 'LP2' and the record comes across as a bit more musically complex. With 'LP2' the band managed to craft a worthy follow up to 'Diary'. It is an album that is both inviting and at times hypnotic. 'Friday', the opening track, is a musically rich beginning. 'Theo B' starts with a chiming guitar melody as the band goes on to paint a sonic collage. The lyrics are hard to make out, but the vocal is still pleasing. The songs here are both subtler and more understated than those on 'Diary'. On '5/4' we hear some evidence of Jeremy Enigk’s increased spirituality (“I’m lost in you/Open my eyes./You set me free…/You’re Jesus”).'J’Nuh' has a dreamy low key start and layered vocals both quiet and loud that achieve a moving effect. 'Rodeo Jones' features a poignant lyric (“Off of my hand flew the snow white dove/Into the sun now I’m bleeding/I’m in need of”). A few years after their break up, people began to cite Sunny Day Real Estate as an influence. They had become a seminal band. The re-release of their first two albums at this time is a welcome happening.



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Sunny Day Real Estate - Sunny Day Real Estate


Sunny Day Real Estate - Sunny Day Real Estate



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Sunny Day Real Estate/Biffy Clyro (2010)
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