album reviews

Jeremy Enigk
World Waits
Lewis Hollow Recordings (2006)

Given Jeremy Enigk's storied musical and personal history, it's fitting that he kicks off his second solo album with a song called "A New Beginning." A rebirth seems almost necessary after four albums with the on-again/off-again proto-emo band Sunny Day Real Estate and its spinoff project, the Fire Theft. (Furthermore, the concept of starting over subtly recalls Enigk's highly publicized conversion to Christianity in the mid-1990s.)

But "World Waits" isn't exactly a clean break from Enigk's earlier material; he has been working on at least two of its songs since his solo debut 10 years ago. Enigk closes "World" with one of those pieces, the piano ballad "Burn," in which his ethereal voice soars above a dramatic arrangement before fading into a reflective murmur about right and wrong. The other remnant from that time is the soul-searching "Damien Dreams." One of the highlights of "World," it begins calmly with an uncharacteristically throaty rumble and swells into an impassioned, anguished roar.

"World" still feels like a solo recording, despite its full orchestration (eight string players, five drummers and seven vocalists are credited on the album). Enigk seems perpetually lost in his own thoughts, from the autobiographical "Cannons" to the pleading "River to Sea." While he is not likely to stick just with a solo career (he has stated publicly that the Fire Theft is merely taking a break, not splitting up), "World Waits" gives him an auspiciously fresh start to his new material.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 1 December 2006, Page WE08
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