If not for Chad over at Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands it’s likely I might have let Jeremy Enigk, former singer of Sunny Day Real Estate, fade to black the digital black hole of my iTunes library.
When we last left in Enigk, in 2003, he had formed the Fire Theft with two of the other three members of SDRE. I enjoyed the group’s self-titled debut, though at that point, there had been so much drama surrounding Sunny Day – too many breakups and makeups to keep track of – that fans maybe disregarded the Fire Theft as just another tease to a SDRE reunion that wouldn’t materialize.
But there was the matter of Enigk’s epic (yes, I said it, epic) 1996 solo album, Return of the Frog Queen. (Speaking of, thank you, Sub Pop, for selling it on vinyl for $5 at the Pitchfork Music Festival.) Enigk’s declaration of born-again Christianity was rumored to be reasons for the breakup (the first) and the inspiration behind Frog Queen. As someone who grew up with hardly any religious direction (mother is Jewish; father is Irish-Catholic), I never was emotionally stirred by Enigk’s motives of faith … it didn’t bother me either way. That’s an admittedly naive outlook, but I didn’t – and still don’t – think that my limited religious views needed to be in line with Enigk’s to appreciate what he was doing as a musician.
So here we are 10 years later, and Enigk finally has a follow-up: World Waits (irony?), due for an October release on his Lewis Hollow imprint. In anything he’s done, Enigk somehow coaxes swells of uplifting and inspirational sound. SDRE’s final album, the Rising Tide, is a great example – or it could be that it caught me at a more vulnerable time: out of college, not really sure what the hell I was doing living in Milwaukee, away from girlfriend/family/etc.
But already on his new material, I’m finding myself pulled in emotionally. On River to Sea, Enigk, with that desperation in his voice, pretty much hits me over the head with this line:
“I’ve found my place where I have longed to be /
I can’t erase any mistake”
Pretty elegant in its simplicity, if you ask me.