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Connects on all levels

Jeremy Enigk - World Waits
(Lewis Hollow Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 24, 2006
Jeremy Enigk

Review by Andy Argyrakis

As the enigmatic creative force behind emo purveyors Sunny Day Real Estate, front man Jeremy Enigk was idolized by every boy with a broken heart and every girl looking for a sensitive guy. But the band established itself well beyond the whiny whimpers of the genre's current crop and racked up a cavalcade of legitimate underground attention until its untimely demise. From there, the celebrated singer/songwriter formed The Fire Theft and again reeled in a similar fan base, despite adapting a more aggressive/alternative undertone. Of course given his previous track record, this band divorced as well, leading to the token solo record met with extreme anticipation.

Not only was World Waits desperately wanted by appreciators of his previous two acts, but also those of his previous individual outing. In fact, that facet of his fan base waited an unbearable ten years since his freshman effort Return of the Frog Queen, though upon initial exploration of this current endeavor, it was well worth the wait. Besides growing as an artist and a writer, Enigk taps out of his tendency to shoot above the average listeners' heads and turns in a much more accessible offering. That's certainly not to say he's watering down the arrangements or his message, but simply relates with a more direct approach free of rambling or self-indulgent sidesteps.

Such is the case on the glorious, Peter Gabriel-tipped "Cannons," the beautiful acoustics of "River To Sea" and the piano centered title cut, which is arguably the album's most delicate and dreamy sonic sequence. All of his previously high-pitched wails and moans are lessened come "Been Here Before," while the yearning "Damien Dreams" is perhaps closet to his work with Sunny Day, but free from any directly derivative regurgitation. "Burn" is clearly his most compelling as a lyricist, tracing a variety of spiritual awakenings across gripping phrases of poetry that vulnerably showcase his soul's inner grapplings. In doing so, Enigk continues connecting with listeners on all levels, while keeping his faithful guessing over the next artistically enchanting trick he may have up the sleeve.

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