I have a hard time relating the term "emo" with the music that Sunny Day Real Estate and now former lead singer Jeremy Enigk puts out. There's something so… I don't know, icky about the music that today is called emo. It's beginnings were humble – punk music with more emotional vocal and lyrical content (not to mention less yelling.) What happened to it after Sunny Day Real Estate's status went from active to "honorably discharged" is not their fault – and don't let that "emo" label dissuade you from checking them out, or Enigk, for that matter.
Enigk, the former lead singer of now-legendary and defunct Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Theft, has put out a little album (I'm not kidding – it's 34 minutes long) of four new songs and 5 in-studio live tracks of ornate rock. That fact left me a little iffy on this one, but regardless of it being half-new, half "live in the studio," it's a fantastic little release carrying on in the orchestral vein of World Waits, with a real orchestra backing the music.
The orchestra is most effectively used in the first couple of songs, which are more stripped down affairs with little “band” presence otherwise, but the orchestra is used to strong effect throughout the four songs. The most emotionally powerful tune is "Tatseo Show," where the band itself is brought in midway through the song to drive it toward the finish. As for the live material, it simply sounds more immediate and raw than World Waits did – not that there's anything wrong with that fine album. Somehow, for being familiar songs, they fit in very well with the four new tracks.
If there's a complaint to be made it's that instead of getting a full album of new material, we get what is essentially two EPs in one. This normally would have rated this release lower, because things like this are typically just time-fillers between albums (and as such shouldn't be considered “albums,”) but I'm just enjoying this so much that I can't hold that against it. If only more albums packed as much enjoyment into 34 minutes as this one does.