The Genius of Sunny Day Real Estate
If you were to ask me what band has had the most influence on the way I approach the guitar, Sunny Day Real Estate is most certainly at the top of the list. After forming in Seattle in 1992 and releasing their critically acclaimed debut album Diary in 1994, Sunny Day Real Estate helped establish the midwest emo scene, catapulting them to potential success.
Unfortunately, shortly after recording their second album LP2, the band broke up, with members Nate Mendel and William Goldsmith joining Foo Fighters and Jeremy Enigk looking toward a solo career. In 1997, they regrouped and recorded two more studio albums, How It Feels To Be Something On (1998) and The Rising Tide (2000) and a live album (1999) but the group disbanded again in 2001.
The band had a short-lived reunion from 2009 to 2013, resulting in a split 7” with Circa Survive. Although the group’s history is on and off, what they managed to accomplish early on is something that’ll live on throughout music history. If you haven’t listened to Sunny Day Real Estate before, it’s an immaculate trip that has elements of punk, indie-rock, and post-hardcore.
The group’s sound is nothing overly complex like a band like Yes. Still, it’s more out there than any traditional Seattle grunge band. Yet, their sound encompasses that rawness associated with so many 1990s Seattle acts. It’s a perfect combination of chaotic music with dynamic change. Although they’re deemed an emo band, make sure you don’t confuse this with the mainstream term of emo regarding groups like My Chemical Romance or The Used.
Emo was derived from post-hardcore music in the 1980s, eventually making its way to the alternative realm in the 1990s with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, and many others bringing it to the forefront of mainstream success. It’s unfortunate Sunny Day Real Estate had such a short-lived beginning, but their albums are truly special; especially the first three.
The group’s first album Diary is their most successful resulting in over 230,000 copies sold since, despite never charting initially. The album’s melodic but urgent sound made it live on to this day, largely separating them from other groups at the time. The opening track Seven is a flawless depiction of what to expect from the band. Its slow-driven tone into utter chaos dissolves perfectly to just a guitar and Jeremy Enigk’s somber voice. The rest of the album follows a comparable timbre from Diary and is an all-around unbelievable record.
LP2 is a more intricate version of Diary and was rushed to release since the group broke-up while recording it. I actually enjoy it a bit more than Diary, even though it’s not totally put together (seeing as they broke up). How It Feels To Be Something On is a much darker yet radio-ready record, while the Rising Tide is essentially a progressive rock and arena rock record.
I love Sunny Day Real Estate’s first two records, have a strong likeness for their third, and I appreciate elements of their last. If you haven’t doven into the group before, definitely take a deep dive through their four studio albums. You won’t be disappointed you did.
Most Viewed Posts
- Live Music Recommendations #51 – Sharon Van Etten: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert April 20, 2021
- How an Illegal Mash-Up Reignited British Pop April 19, 2021
- Car Seat Headrest – What’s In My Bag? April 18, 2021
- Roger Waters – “The Bravery of Being Out of Range” April 17, 2021
- Live Music Recommendations #50 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live In Maui 1970 Second Show April 16, 2021