Dusting 'Em Off
Revisiting an album, a film, or an event on its anniversary

Dusting ‘Em Off: Rogue Wave – Descended Like Vultures

on March 06, 2010, 8:00am

In honor of its new release Permalight, I got back to thinking about the dark California sounds of Rogue Wave. While “Bird on a Wire” and a few others have stayed in my playlists over the years, I forgot what enjoyable albums Rogue Wave used to produce.

(Whoops, did I reveal too much about my feelings for the un-Sub Pop, Owl City-esque Permalight?)

Before Jennifer Aniston movie appearances, The O.C soundtracks, and family sitcoms, the intimate and acoustic sounds of Out of the Shadow showcased the raw talent and vocals of Rogue. But the band didn’t get much attention when it first released Out of the Shadow on a private label. While The Postal Service,  Iron & Wine, and The Shins were reviving  Sub Pop with new releases in 2003, Rogue Wave got lost in the mix. Sub Pop brought the band alive in 2004 when it re-released the album (pretty good for a group whose founder was just trying something new after losing his job in the dot-com bust), but Descended Like Vultures brought the band to a whole new level.

The more ambitious sound of Descended Like Vultures came in 2005. A fully formed band and collaborative production brought a louder and fuller sound than that on Out of the Shadow. This new bold sound brought tracks such as “Publish My Love” and the humming electric guitar of “Bird on a Wire”. The strumming acoustic guitar stayed with Descended Like Vultures for some tracks such as “California”, but more electric and a Hammond B3 organ were thrown in.

But it’s Zach Rogue’s voice that has remained consistent throughout. His California-style tenor wrapped into Gene Park’s viola and Evan Farrell’s Wurlitzer in “Catform” create Rogue Wave’s memorable surfer-happy, yet depressive-style vocals while the voice-filtered “10:1” is carried with heavy drums and a textured layer of keys, organ, and intense sound.

The good thing about an extensive iTunes and LaLa library is we can always go back and revisit the good ol’ days.

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