Review Summary: Does the name sound familiar? It should.
It’s a tough world out there for a solo artist. With no band to back you up, it has got to be much more difficult to establish yourself or create some high-quality music. I mean, what do you do when the frontman of Senses Fail disses you, and you don’t have your fellow musicians to support you? Luckily Jeremy Enigk
, former singer of Sunny Day Real Estate
, doesn’t have to deal with dilemmas of this nature. What he does have to deal with is the fact that he’s left behind the indie, emo Gods, Sunny Day Real Estate, to set out and make some music for himself. On his fifth album since his departure, Enigk tunes things down in a more pop-oriented direction. Though differences are highly present, OK Bear
is an outstanding effort from the same Jeremy Enigk we know and love.
Gone is the angst and the climactic build-ups that lead to the shrill vocals of former songs like “In Circles” or “Song About An Angel,” but Enigk’s signature vocals remain. He’s not afraid to substitute these losses for a quieter moment here or there. These moments proliferate and eventually and we’re left with an introspective record that tends to shift focus towards Enigk’s songwriting. Enigk, for the most part, does not disappoint. “Vale Oso,” is a melancholy lament that asks, “Will you wait your whole life?” More than any other, this song really personifies Jeremy’s new vocal style. “Vale Oso,” complete with horns and a cello, show you that this is no simple singer songwriter gig, either. Enigk manages to get away with these more expansive songs, and pulls them off very naturally and sincerely. Far from his previous emo-esque vocals, he even adopts a near country twang on one of OK Bear’s
more disappointing songs, “April Storm”.
Though, it would be unfair if I didn’t mention OK Bear’s
biggest downfall. Clocking in at about 37 minutes, the longest song, “Sandwich Time,” last less than four minutes. While brevity may be wit, brevity rarely satisfies. At the end of a full listen, you’re left wanting more and feeling a little unfulfilled. It would have been much more fitting if Enigk decided to only record half the songs, and expand them to twice the size.
Other songs worth mentioning would have to be “Same Side Imaginary” and “Restart.” With the former, it feels very satisfying to hear the soft-loud progression of Enigk’s past, even if he insists on softening it and slowing it down. The latter is a little more upbeat. “Restart” lets us know that Jeremy Enigk is still capable of belting out those high-energy tunes. The closer, “Sant Feliu De Guixols,” an ode to the quaint Spanish town [OK Bear[/b] was recorded in, ends the album much more solid than it started off.
Most people will see OK Bear
as a maturation of sorts. The stripped down nature begs people to listen to what Enigk has to say instead of merely rocking out to it. His new style fits him well at times, but it leaves me wanting. I would recommend OK Bear
, though especially for people that have not heard Sunny Day Real Estate’s former work. Jeremy Enigk is capable of better. While it would have been outrageous to expect basically a Sunny Day Real Estate solo project, OK Bear
is a very solid effort that leaves me with the feeling that Jeremy Enigk is capable of better.
Same Side Imaginary