Jeremy Enigk - Ghosts (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Jeremy Enigk

Ghosts (2017)

lewis hollow

Jeremy Enigk's work with Sunny Day Real Estate isn't something I ever feel comfortable putting into words. The influence it's had on me I don't think I'll ever really be able to describe. It's a shame that after they dropped "Lipton Witch" a few years ago they didn't put out any new music since, but hey, that's life. And with life, we often get smaller and finer gifts. In this case, something that flies under the radar in the shape of another solo record in Ghosts. And I'll be honest, this as well is so fucking difficult to write about because it's just as powerful and moving as anything he's done with SDRE.

Quite a few sounds pop to mind listening to this record. But let me set something straight first -- his other solos felt like Jeremy from SDRE, reconciling all the bits and piece of himself he put out with that band; this on the other hand is his most free and expressive work to date as a solo act. One where he transcends anything he did before because he really lets his identity, musically especially, stand out. It feels real and like he's next to you scribing something in his diary (no pun intended). And with this intimacy, Enigk brings all influences flush to your ear.

There's U2 and Bono in "The Long Wait Is Over", a strong dose of Mogwai and Sigur Ros on "Victory" and so many other sections that aren't just about shimmery notes and heart-tugging acoustics, but about orchestral swells and melodic guitar segments, you'll think that Enigk recruited Explosions in the Sky as his backup band. Then there's his folk influences unravelling on "Amazing Worlds" and a stab at folk-rock on "Sacred Fire" -- all as catchy and chorus-driven as ever. All that's missing is a bigger choir, which I admit I would have loved to hear humming and chiming in as Enigk waxes on and on about religion and relationships (with God even).

What all this offers at the end of the day is one, big indie-soundtrack that feels like you're watching the sun burn out and flash its last ray. Or that Netflix movie on the weekend that no one expected to make them cry. Or changing into clothes for a funeral you never imagined you'd have to attend. These are the pictures Enigk paints, stripping away the rock and roll from his core, but injecting heart and soul and in the process; creating something so much more riveting than just a work of art. Ghosts are what he lives with now because they're all that's left when the demons are put to bed. And that's something we can all relate to -- the dynamic between good and evil, light and dark, and you know. That kinda thing. Ghosts are the good memories that for some people -- like him, like me -- make life worthwhile.