Life's gotta be hard if you're Jeremy Enigk. No matter what he does, the singer/songwriter's new music will always be compared to his emo-core pioneering of '90s Sub-Pop powerhouse act Sunny Day Real Estate, and The Fire Theft, which Enigk fronted shortly after SDRE's demise. On top of that, World Waits, Enigk's newest and first solo record in 10 years, will no doubt be compared to his first solo offering, Return of the Frog Queen, as well. What's surprising is that Enigk's latest work doesn't really sound much at all like his previous releases, but it can absolutely withstand the scrutiny and should easily please old fans and first-time listeners alike. The opening instrumental track, "A New Beginning," signals a fresh start for Enigk, with its "November Rain"-ish bell-laden fanfare. "City Tonight," the only real misstep on the record, sounds something like a soulless A Momentary Lapse of Reason-era Pink Floyd song, but we'll forgive him. On the whole, Enigk shows he still has a galactically mellifluous voice. "Been Here Before" and "Dare a Smile" tiptoe through the backstreets of Enigk's mind with fragile confessions that stretch into soaring, lump-in-the-throat-inducing howls, while "Damien Dreams" is really just painfully and beautifully sublime.
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