Jeremy Enigk- World Waits (Lewis Hollow Records)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. New Beginning
2. Been Here Before
3. River to Sea
4. City Tonight
5. Cannons
6. Damien Dreams
7. Wayward Love
8. Dare a Smile
9. World Waits
10. Burn

In case you've accidently stumbled onto this review, Jeremy Enigk was the vocalist for a fantastic 90's indie rock band called Sunny Day Real Estate. If you are not familiar with them, I suggest you quickly review before moving forward. You can thank me later.

It has been 10 years between Jeremy Enigk releases, so calling his latest World Waits is somewhere between tongue-in-cheek and ha-ha funny. If you follow these things, Sunny Day Real Estate's onstage implosion following Enigk's conversion to Christianity is something of indie rock myth. Enigk released the brief but brilliant Return Of the Frog Queen and then did not resurface until The Fire Theft's debut four years ago. Conceptually one of the more creative and unique efforts to come out of the 90s, Enigk's first solo release was also more challenging to absorb, with his vocals drifting Twin Peaks-style within the context of a 21 piece orchestra.

So would this be worth the world's wait, and what on earth would we have been waiting for? Simply put, yes, and World Waits is some of Enigk's catchiest and most accessible work since SDRE's How It Feels To Be Something On. It is at once a nod to his past, a culmination of all of the work that had made him interesting in the last decade, and a step towards something that transcends all of that.

After the brief and bizarre handshake of A New Beginning, Enigk launches into the Polyphonic Spree-esque bombast of Been Here Before. Many of these track titles strike me as punny, in light of Enigk's musical (and personal) journey. Been Here Before settles into an acoustic breath, and arrives as a very catchy evolution from the Return Of the Frog Queen era. We're a few seats short of a 21 piece orchestra here, but there are no less than five drummers, four violin players and some 20+ other musicians listed in the credits, so it's not like he's getting all Pete Townshend on us. There is a post rock element to the Been Here Before's buildup and ultimate crescendo, something we have not heard in Enigk's work to this point. It is welcome and cathartic.

The sublime River To Sea follows. Enigk's vocals seem to slice through the acoustic guitars- "Turn around, your life is in your hands." It's track that has all of the quirkiness of The Flaming Lips, it still maintains that clear and present Enigk vocal delivery that is somehow always comforting and familiar. Track sequencing flows nicely on World Waits, and if there is any lull whatsoever, it is in the middle of the disc. It starts powerfully and ends just as profoundly.

Highlights abound on this all-too-short disc, culminating with the grandiose closing track Burn. The experience becomes a 36 minute emotional journey. Dare a Smile, World Waits, and Burn are some of the most compelling tracks I've heard this year. Dare A Smile could almost fit on The Wall, with its surreal waltz-like arrangements and lines like "dare a smile, I'm out of style" wrapped in Enigk's crystalline and dreamy delivery. Passionate themes of interpersonal (and self-) connectedness seem to be the primary threads here- relationships with friends, communities, spirituality, and acceptance. World Waits may end up being remembered as Enigk's creative apex- a sound both big and dreamy carrying some of his most poignant lyric efforts to date.

Jeremy Enigk may be many things, but what makes his music unique is the range of pure emotion he his able to deliver. His spectrum seems to extend beyond the infrared and ultraviolet, and he infuses World Waits with something that resonates long after its blissful arrangements have shimmered into silence.


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