Jeremy Enigk's former band, Sunny Day Real Estate, revived their career with tours in 1998 and 2000. But for some reason, Enigk's 1996 solo debut, Return of the Frog Queen, didn't have the same impact. Ditto for 2006's World Waits. Enigk's third solo album, OK Bear, is what you'd expect from him at this point in his career. At 34, he certainly shows a level of songwriting maturity. It's very much a laid-back effort that has more in common with his other solo work than anything Sunny Day Real Estate ever did. OK Bear is full of whimsical tunes produced with a do-it-yourself, stripped-down feel that comes from self-releasing your records. "Mind Idea" opens the album with a swirling piano line reminiscent of Coldplay, and the straightforward "Restart" is the album's catchiest tune. Tracks like "Vale Oso" and "Same Side Imaginary" rely heavily on acoustic guitar and mood. There's a bit of that promised bombast on "Late of Camera" and "Life's Too Short," but they seem more like anomalies in this context. — Jeremy Willets
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