Some say that Sunny Day Real Estate is one of the roots that lead to the modern chaos that magazines like Rolling Stone want to sell us as "Emo". After listening to this album, I can understand why some people might think so. Melancholic arrangements, lyrics giving a quite introspective impression, vocals that I'm sure about many would deem "whiny".
But speculation about the genre of this CD are completely skipable. Why? Because it's good music, that's why!
After the first few listens to this album, I was a bit confused though and did not really know what to think. Especially the first tunes are misleading. The Intro of "Friday" sounds more or less 'neutral'. Not too melancholic, or menacing/creepy. When the song kicked in with the first verse, I got that feeling though. Which was not really what I expected. Overall all the songs have a subliminal melancholic touch, which comes from the combination of the way the vocals are sung and how the guitar adds to that. Sometimes the guitar riffs seem a bit deranged, then minimalistic and clean, just to burst into a distorted part as somekind of climax of a song. I really like that, as it is well done here. With the guitar line the mood of the songs often swings from one moment to another. Where it seems almost cheerful first, it goes over to menacing (as if something evil is drawing near), just to blend over into melancholy. "Theo B" could be named as one example.
The drummer does his best to support this, and does a decent job at it. I could not really spot anything ground breaking there though. Kind of similar with the bass, though he plays some interesting fills and variations. The bass lines are nothing 'too up there', but add a lot to the atmosphere of the songs. Especially during the verses, where guitar is often more simplistic or minimalistic here. "5/4" comes to mind as an example, as well as "8". A neat package you get here.
I had a REALLY hard time understanding the lyrics though. To really know what's going on I had to look up all the lyrics and side read them so to say, to really understand what is going on. I guess it comes from the way the vocals are done, as the mix of all the instruments is good. But the lyrics seem muffled, a bit muddy, just not clear enough for me to understand them without having to look at the lyrics in written form. I don't think the lyrics are bad though, just hard to understand for me. The design and setup of the lyrics is interesting, they don't seem bland or using overused metaphors. Too bad that you notice the vocal melody far more than the actual content of the lyrics.
Is the overall musicianship outstanding then? Groundbreaking new instrumental work? Ehm, no. Same goes for the vocals. It's very very solid work, not too outstanding though in my book. The record is nonetheless great. Maybe not for the... lets say, first couple of listens, up to five or six. It took some time before I could really appreciate it. Once you get used to the vocals and sometimes a bit deranged melodies, this trip through different moods is really a joy. That's what wins for me at least. Songs that go from kind of cheerful to menacing, to a distorted outbreak just to settle back into a melancholic melody.
If you can relate to Indie-like rock music, that many would consider modern Emo today (we all know that's not really true, but, yeah...), check this one out for quality work. You have this basically melancholic mood, that does not get "OMG, I have to cut my wrist cause the world hates me!".
I love sunny day. like you more or less said, without them there would be no emo.. its all about bands like these, mineral, at the drive in, commander venus (just kidding), the reasons that we can all thank our lucky stars for the relentless ebb and flow of ear malarky such as fallout boy, underoath, and hearts that hate.. hooray.. you fuckin jerks.. oh god i just realized everything that i hate about modern rock is the fault of my favorite bands... im gonna go buy a pair of g-unit sneakers, fuck you guys and your guitars, i'm goin home.
Great review, great band.
Also, Nate Mendel, their bassist, is in the Foo Fighters now. When I saw them live a while ago, it happened to be Nate's birthday, so Dave gave the crowd a whole spiel about him.
I love sunny day. like you more or less said, without them there would be no emo.. its all about bands like these, mineral, at the drive in, commander venus (just kidding), the reasons that we can all thank our lucky stars for the relentless ebb and flow of ear malarky such as fallout boy, underoath, and hearts that hate.. hooray.. you ****in jerks.. oh god i just realized everything that i hate about modern rock is the fault of my favorite bands... im gonna go buy a pair of g-unit sneakers, **** you guys and your guitars, i'm goin home.
I'm not sure if you were just too retarded to read the first paragraph of the review or if you just can't read to begin with.