The Rising Tide

Sunny Day Real Estate have always hinted that they want to become emo-core's answer to earnest, pre-Achtung Baby U2. On their fourth studio album, The Rising Tide, the Seattle trio finally sounds like it. The grandiose production, by Lou Giordano (Goo Goo Dolls, Live), matches the quasi-mystical visions mapped out in the songs. Jeremy Enigk hurls his near yodel of a voice across a Grand Canyon soundscape with dazzling conviction; his eerie falsetto evokes the operatic flights of not just Bono but the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and he aspires to a similar ecstatic spirituality. "Snibe" and the title track creak with epic ambition as reverb-drenched voices, bombastic drums and heroic guitars collide. The more delicate "Rain Song" and "Fool in the Photograph" twist like incense, tinged by Eastern accents and silky string arrangements. But above all, it's the otherworldly sound of Enigk's voice — like a ghost communicating what life is like on the other side — that immerses the listener in The Rising Tide.

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