ROGUE WAVE - DESCENDED LIKE VULTURES


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Album: Descended like Vultures
Artist: Rogue Wave
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Rogue Wave is a Sub Pop band that all too often gets lumped in as a Shins sounding outfit. Their first Sub Pop release, Out of the Shadows was a re-release of songs written by Zach and played by a band he pieced together.

The new album, Descended Like Vultures, is the first release by Rogue Wave as a band. Over the last two years, the band has toured relentlessly, and started to form their own sound. It shows on this release.

In the past, the songs were more or less acoustic songs, filled up by bass, drums and some subtle electronic blips and beeps. The songs on this album sound fuller, and more structured. The parts play together well, and don't sound like they were added as an after thought. Although I am a huge fan of the first album, some of the songs sounded like something Zach played at countless open mic nights, hoping to land a record deal, or another notch on the belt.

The record is full of what pop music fans want. Catchy, unashamed hooks, solid rhythm support and lyrics mixed between depression,despairr and hope. My favorite track is Salesman at the day of parade. Zach's gentle strumming and vocals are the focus of the track, but the backing guitar and harmonies show exactly how the band has grown and produce music as a unit.

Love's lost guarantee is another solid track. Dueling guitars, and Pat Spurgeon's percussion accompaniment keep this track moving, and the electronic guitar creates a wall of sound that fans of the older material might not expect to hear (but those who have seen the band play live will recognize and enjoy).

The single on this album is 10:1. Of course, this is one of the tracks I like least. It is smorgasboard of sounds, and not one that sounds good together. Filtering Zach's vocals, heavy tinny sounding drums and computer effects make this song seem unfocused. They want EFX, no, no live EFX.

The sequencing of the album seems a bit off, as right after 10:1, comes the great acoustic track, California. Although this style is similar to material on the first release, Zach's growth as a songwriter really shows on this track, as it flows beautifully. The strings add a subtle layer of sound that makes this more than just an acoustic number you've heard countless time before.

Medicine Ball has a country-ish vibe, and a pulsating drums beat that is mixed perfectly. It doesn't dominate the track, but blends well to produce a song that will be played loudly and extended in concert. Just another type of song by the band. If this is the type of release we can come to expect form these guys, they are going to have some happy fans, and a lot of them.


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