Review ·

The temptation is to start
name-dropping. We could start talking about how Zach Rogue's vocals split the
difference between Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum and the Shins' James
Mercer, how the guitars twinkle and spark like Radiohead's glory days, how
Rogue's tunes have the plasticine sheen of Death Cab for Cutie and the same
weepy sincerity, and how naming your band after your last name is kinda lame.
But I've heard that would be lazy journalism - and, whatever, these guys
deserve a bit more from us anyway.


The band's second full-length
from Sup Pop, Descended Like Vultures,
follows an impressive debut - and success story. In short, Rogue gets dismissed
from his dot-com job (poor guy), splits for New York, records an album alone,
flies home to Oakland, changes his last name, finds a band and some friends,
finishes the album, releases it alone, and gets picked up by a big independent
label - all within a few years. If Out of
the Shadow
, his debut, is the
result of years spent staring at cubicle walls, we have some reason to
celebrate the dot-com flame-out.

But whereas Rogue began his
corporate exodus alone, Descended Like
finds him and his able compatriots integrated and working as a
band. Despite their twists and turns (sonic and otherwise), the songs here are
fully accomplished - unafraid of comparisons and sure of their intent. "Publish
My Love," possibly the best of the bunch, explodes in a mess of shoegaze before
settling into a choruses that stand upright to love's low-pressure winds;
"10:1" pummels a two-note Hammond B3 melody to danceable oblivion. Even when
things hush up, Rogue Wave keeps things interesting. "California" has Rogue's
elegant tenor laughing at the land of milk and honey as he sings "screw
California and the friends that are never there" over warm acoustic

The sanitized production can be
a bit of a stumbling block, and Rogue occasionally gets ahead of himself with
his high-spire vocals, but Descended Like
is by and large not the sophomore slump such and such and so and
so were expecting. With few exceptions, bands that play like bands are more
interesting than songwriters fronting freelancers. Thankfully, Rogue Wave is
beginning to sound like the former.

Rogue Wave on

Rogue Wave
Web site

Rogue Wave on Myspace

Discuss this review at The Prefix
Message Board

  • Bird On A Wire
  • Publish My Love
  • Salesman At The Day Of The Parade
  • Catform
  • Love's Lost Guarantee
  • 10:1
  • California
  • Are You On My Side
  • Medicine Ball
  • You
  • Temporary
Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask Applied Communications Uhhh Sort Of

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