The melodic grace and evolved progressive rock stylings of Seattle’s Sunny Day Real Estate stand out in today’s music industry like a sore thumb when observed against the caustic tones that continue to resonate throughout the pop world.
But just like the sun finally breaking through dark storm clouds that have overstayed their welcome, the band’s uplifting and challenging music — along with such emotive hard-core groups as At the Drive-In and Modest Mouse, it’s referred to as “emo-core” — has found an eager audience warmed by the promise and positivity of it all.
At the packed and very sold-out Troubadour, following a larger show at the Palace a day earlier, the members of SDRE played out their hearts and souls — channeled through microphones, guitars and drums — to the gathered converted in a performance so inspired and heartfelt that wider exposure for the group appears both inevitable and unwelcome.
Beginning with “Fool in the Photograph,” from Sunny Day’s terrific new album, “The Rising Tide” (Time Bomb Recordings/BMG), the band (with two touring members on bass, additional guitar and keyboards) played an hourlong set of (mostly new) songs that addressed redemption, love and respect for self and others, mental exploration, and other such personal subjects.
Front man Jeremy Enigk, his heart hung on sleeve, sang in a very effective high-pitched voice (shades of Yes and Rush abound) and his soaring passages on tracks like “One” and older fave “Pillars” gave the songs undeniable power and lasting effect.
“Morning comes in the dream, before we arise,” he sang, eyes closed, during encore entry “The Rising Tide,” casting a hush over the fulfilled audience.
Other high points of the show (that went by in the blink of an eye) included the two-toned vibe of “Killed by an Angel,” which tells of man’s inability to see right from wrong and was powered by the chords of guitarist Dan Hoener; the delicate melody and pretty harmony vocals of “The Ocean” (“We’re lost and wandering, deep in the ocean”); and show closer “In Circles,” a near-hit for the band from its 1995 Sub Pop debut, “Diary.”