Rogue Wave brings better days - Oh My Rockness

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Rogue Wave brings better days

November 23, 2005
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Why the hell do we live here? You know, where it's cold. I just don't get it. It's not like we don't have the option to move to milder lands. There's the whole West Coast, the South and even Florida (why warmth should be wasted on that state, I shall never know) that take 70 degree days for granted and scoff at the suckers who reside in the shivering states. These places are but a long car ride away, yet it is a man and woman's free choice to freeze, and we are the chumps who vote Pro-Pneumonia. Though we publicly and masochistically choose to subject ourselves to rain, sleet and snow, privately we often pine for paradise. So lately, we've escaped reality's harsh embrace by putting on music that is decidedly NOT dreary. To make a long story short, we are really wearing out our Rogue Wave albums. The band's breezy, sun-drenched melodies are more calming than a Corona commercial could ever be. And they're just what we need to get through this long winter that has yet to even begin.

Rogue Wave's latest album, Descended Like Vultures, completely blows their debut, Out of the Shadows, out of the water. Not that their first offering wasn't good -- it was. But this band has definitely stepped it up a notch, delivering new songs that can only now be compared in the same breath to the work of their friends and label mates, The Shins. Much of this marked improvement stems from singer Zach Rogue opting not to record the album (mostly) solo, instead combining the talents of all four touring members to make their first true "band" album. Even Michael Jordan needed a supporting cast before he started winning all those championships. And while Rogue Wave aren't the Michael Jordan of music just yet, they certainly just moved from Sixth Man to Starting Shooting Guard in a hurry.

If you like your pop to come free of the gooey cheese (which on the surface appears to be enticing, but ultimately ends up just making you feel gross), then Rogue Wave is your kind of group. These are songs meant to soar, with optimistic harmonies harkening back to those gentler nights and days. But their songs do not aim for the obvious -- they make sure to throw in the odd refrain here and the random rhythm there to make your listen an accessible but interesting one. The few times I have seen this band live, they had a very assured aura surrounding them. This confidence allowed the crowd to stand back, relax, and take comfort that Rogue Wave were fully in control, transporting us to a place where the sun does, in fact, shine.

Rogue Wave plays Bowery Ballroom, Friday, December 2nd.

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