CD Review: Enigk Keeps Fans Waiting for Diary, Part 2

But the former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman is still tackling good vs. evil, temptation, and redemption.

Jeremy EnigkOK Bear (Lewis Hollow)Fans of emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate have never forgotten the band's 1994 debut, Diary. It's the only SDRE album on which screaming vocals, heartbreaking lyrics, and aggressive instrumentals intermingle. Nearly every album that followed was tinged with lead singer Jeremy Enigk's twin interests in religion and prog rock—themes that have continued to define his 10-year solo career.Fans waiting for Diary, Part 2 will be surprised by OK Bear, Enigk's newest release. The tracks are mostly stripped-down, piano- and acoustic guitar–driven melodies that lack the heavy distortion of Diary and the overproduction of Return of the Frog Queen or World Waits, Enigk's previous solo albums.What identifies OK Bear as an Enigk album, aside from the singer's trademark falsetto, is his fondness for tackling themes of good vs. evil or temptation and redemption. On "Mind Idea," the album's opening piano ballad, images of cemeteries mingle with descriptions of Enigk's own private secrets.On "Same Side Imaginary," arguably OK Bear's best track, Enigk remains honest, singing softly over plucked guitar strings that build into a sweeping chorus: "Lost in a world they built/They've got it all/But they ain't got emotion/It's the same side imaginary." No longer will riffing guitars or a backing orchestra define Enigk as a songwriter; instead, complicated emotions and intense lyrics will be his new and lasting trademark.

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