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 didnt 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 its Zach Rogues voice that has remained consistent throughout. His California-style tenor wrapped into Gene Parks viola and Evan Farrells Wurlitzer in Catform create Rogue Waves 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.