Sunny Day Real Estate - The Rising Tide (Cover Artwork)

Sunny Day Real Estate

The Rising Tide (2000)

Time Bomb

I'm sure that the emo kids of the world are shedding crocodile tears over the fact that Sunny Day Real Estate (SDRE) never made a Diary Part 2. But there are those of us who think the band actually made progress with each successive recording. God forbid a band experiments with the discipline of progressive rock or they could be propelled into the not-so-favorable ranks of a band like Styx.

After the highly acclaimed How it Feels to Be Something On, which was the final record SDRE did for Sub-Pop, they returned again with The Rising Tide, a slightly more commercial offering than its predecessors. But don't fret; there is not a Mr. Roboto in sight. Overall, it's a spiritually passionate record in the vein of bands such as Live or U2.

It kicks off with the less-than-stellar tracks "Killed by an Angel" and "One," starting to show promise in "Rain Song" with its dust-in-the-wind guitar plucking. "Disappear" starts off with a driving rhythm section and evolves into an emotionally charged rocker similar to that of Unforgettable Fire-era U2. If the ominous soaring harmonies included in the chorus of "Snibe" don't begin to chill you to the bone after repeated listens, I don't know what will. "The Ocean" serves as a temporary melodic breather before the onslaught of the almost-tribal "Fool in the Photograph."

As we approach the end of the CD, we come across 2 tracks that would have seemed out of place on earlier records by SDRE. First, there is the slow and dream-like "Tearing in My Heart," which begins with a sample of children playing after a voice asks "Here's some you wanna hear some kids?" After "Television," which takes the most advantage of Jeremy Enigk's banshee-like wail, comes "Faces In Disguise," a prog-rock-inged song complete with synth and string flourishes. It builds from a gentle pacing ballad to a compelling rock anthem sure to propel the listener into a trance-like state.

The album closes with the inspirational title track, "The Rising Tide," in which Jeremy insinuates that humanity's attempt to fill their own holes and build walls in order to escape from reality are abortive and that "Morning comes in the dream before we rise / When we linger side by side / It's my heart that speaks this time / We will ride the rising tide."

Old SDRE fans may feel the band had officially sold out, but the only thing SDRE sold out to was making their most accomplished masterpiece to date. Disappointingly, they would disband again a short time after the album's release. Although The Rising Tide may very well be the final statement from SDRE, it was an appropriate way to end its legacy.