Sunny Day Real Estate’s then posthumous second album Sunny Day Real Estate (or LP2 or The Pink Album) has always been regarded, at least to myself, as a mysterious album. It was largely recorded after the band had already disbanded, frontman Jeremy Enigk and guitarist Dan Hoerner never completely finished writing the lyrics, and when it came time to turn in the album artwork, the band opted for the ominous pink cover (is it possible for pink to be ominous?) and simple song titles.
After falling in love with the band from listening to their debut, Diary, I eagerly ran out to by this album the week it came out (Fun Fact: LP2 was actually one of the first CDs I bought after getting my drivers license) and listening to the open track ‘Friday’ I was thrown off. Gone was the propulsive emotive rock I got used to on Diary, only to be replaced with mid-tempoed far-eastern influenced rock. My sixteen year old heart was distraught.
I struggled through the next couple of tracks, ‘Theo B’ and ‘Red Elephant’, knowing, at the time, that this was the last album this band would ever produce , and feeling a sense of disappointment in the bands swan song. But on track four ‘5/4’ something clicked, the fragility in Enigk’s vocals and the instruments carrying it the first half of the song gave way to completely different band. I played the hell out of that CD, loving every song on it, from 1:45 mark in ‘5/4’ on. Later, after the release of the bands first post-break-up album, How It Feels to be Something On, it’s clear to see the transition the band was going through on LP2; relying less on the classic indie rock tropes and venturing out in to more atmospheric rock.
That album deserves five stars.
This, the 2009 reissue, of LP2, deserves much less fanfare. I don’t want to call this a cash grab, because really how much cash is to be made on Sunny Day Real Estate, but with the limited recordings in the bands repertoire is such a release warranted? Sure, the album sounds better than it ever has, and the two bonus songs (‘Spade and Parade’ & ‘Bucket of Chicken’) are nice additions, but in today’s download friendly world, they are just a click away. I have never listened to this album, or Diary for that matter, and dreamed of a remastered edition, I took it for what it was: a fantastic album that sounded great and was ahead of it’s time. I would be much more excited about the remastering of Fugazi’s first several albums or the remastering of The Jesus Lizard’s first four albums (NEXT WEEK!).
But I have no ill will towards these guys. They are embarking on their first tour with the original line up in years, and hopefully these reissues will pull in new blood into the fold of Sunny Day Real Estate fans, and hopefully they will release a new album that will erase The Rising Tide from our collective memories.
Go see the old-timers at La Zona Rosa on October 7th 2009[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/04_5_4.mp3]
Download: Sunny Day Real Estate – 5/4 [MP3]