Having sold over a quarter of a million
copies worldwide and widely hailed as the impetus for the so-called
Second Wave of emo, Sunny Day Real Estate’s inaugural full-length
effort still stands as their most cogent and convincing release.
Inspired by the strength of the material, the band may have been
exhausted from constant touring at the time of recording, but
nonetheless sound tight and focused as they churn through the songs
that would later become classics and staples of their live set.
Formed in 1992 in America’s Northwest,
the heartland of grunge, Sunny Day’s exuberance and heartfelt
lyrical motifs provided a welcome counter to the jaded cynicism of
their Seattle contemporaries. Always a band of stark duality,
SDRE’s verses often have a yearning, near-mournful quality, but when
it comes time for the chorus they consistently fire on all
cylinders. The distortion pedals take over, the pop-punk harmonies
kick in and words that were understated sentiments just moments ago
swell to the fore in a hail of carefully controlled bombast. The
quartet are also unafraid to inject a measure of tenderness into the
proceedings. It’s difficult to imagine some of the more macho
flannel-clad Seattleites of the time entitling one of their ditties
Song About an Angel, or crooning ‘meet me there, in the
blue/where words are not but feelings remain’, but somehow it all
works perfectly. And a diary is, after all, the place where you
record your innermost feelings without fear of judgement or
This reissue of Sunny Day’s 1994 debut
LP neatly coincides with their impending tour of Oz, the band’s
first. Remastered and featuring two bonus tracks culled from their
1993 7-inch Thief, Steal Me a Peach, the release is the
perfect excuse for those unfamiliar with Sunny Day Real Estate to
acquaint themselves with this important and influential record.
Longtime fans of the band won’t be disappointed either. While it’s
debatable whether the remastered versions sound that much
different from the originals, the well-chosen bonus tracks are a
nice touch, the album features extensive liner notes penned by each
of the four members and the songs themselves are, as mentioned,
pretty damn close to flawless.
For those turned off by the pejorative
connotations of the ‘emo’ tag, don’t be! There’s absolutely nothing
overwrought or juvenile about SDRE’s timeless, heart-on-the-sleeve
stylings. Highly recommended.