Jeremy Enigk - OK Bear (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Jeremy Enigk

OK Bear (2009)

Lewis Hollow

Fans had to wait a full decade for former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk to follow up his solo debut, 1996's Return of the Frog Queen. Consequently, it's hard to complain about the two-and-a-half-year gap between 2006's World Waits and Enigk's newest effort, OK Bear (2007 holdover The Missing Link offered four new tracks and five re-recordings from World Waits).

OK Bear kinda blows its load right at the outset -- the piano flourish and opening hook of "Mind Idea" is the most breathtaking and gorgeous moment Enigk's written since _____ (pick your favorite from 1994's Diary). There's something about Enigk merely delivering the song title in vocal form that's just bone-chilling, and while he fails to match it anywhere else on the album, OK Bear ensures the delivery of plenty worthy engagements.

Like World Waits, Bear continues the departure from the orchestral proceedings on Frog Queen, opting more towards a simplified array of instrumentation and consequential presentation. Granted, things are still a little more complex than Diary's distorted crunch, nodding more towards the carefully ornate SDRE era; but in general, fans of the early-to-mid-SDRE period shouldn't have much trouble finding pleasure in Bear's setup. Deliberate acoustic plucks punctuate the tense "Life's Too Short" in staccato form, a refreshingly heavy mode for Enigk and his accompanying musicians. But even lighter contributions like the nearly adult-alternative "Same Side Imaginary" or the coincidentally Copeland-esque "Sant Feliu de Guixols" are enjoyable fare.

OK Bear is a careful series of peaks and valleys, though none that stretch too far beyond the mind's eye. Nonetheless, it's still another well-rounded and well-done album from Enigk.

Mind Idea
April Storm
Lifet's Too Short