Rogue Wave - Rogue Wave

By Chason Wainwright

Rogue WaveSometimes losing your job is a good thing. You can refocus your energy, do some soul searching and figure out what you really want in life.

Back in 2002, San Francisco resident Zach Rogue lost his job and decided it was time to make a change. He bought a one-way ticket to New York City, leaving the Bay Area and his old band, Desoto Reds, far behind. His initial intention was to record just a couple songs "in an effort to exorcise his demons both artistically and personally," but instead he ended up recording most of what would become Rogue Wave's debut album, Out of the Shadow.

Out of the Shadow is full of seemingly simple songs, largely built on repetitious acoustic guitar riffs, but listen a little closer and you will hear that there's a lot more going on. Zach Rogue is a lover of the understated details - electronic blips and hand-clap rhythms - that make Out of the Shadow a thoroughly enjoyable debut musically.

On "Be Kind and Rewind," Rogue uses synthesized sounds that mimic birds chirping. It's a cute little touch that makes the song fun to listen to. Out of the Shadow is full of such subtleties - a little moog organ as on "Kicking the Heart Out" and a lot of exceptional backing vocals and harmonies. Rogue's lyrics are equally engaging. On "Postage Stamp World" he sings: "Ever since mom walked out, sis and I can get no sleep. Since then dad's brought home 13 redheads, a blonde, a brunette ... In this postage stamp world, you get what you want. You can all get in line and lick my behind." On "Sewn Up," the music is thick and murky, the bouncing rhythm section moving the song along like a freight train, even seeming to grind to a stop at the end.

Rogue loves to use imagery in his lyrics. On "Falcon Settles Me" he sings "You're the seed and I am the planter, just you and I. Roll through poppies and oleander ..."

The vocal melodies are instantly likeable and always shine through, no matter how muddled the music may become.

There aren't a lot of drums on the record, but it's hardly noticeable due to the strong songwriting. Carl Newman, singer and songwriter for the New Pornographers says Rogue Wave "have that quality that makes them tough to nail down ... a few simple fresh ingredients mixed together tastefully ... Rouge Wave seems like a classic Bay Area band, in the tradition of Thinking Fellers and Barbara Manning - they've just got that vibe."

Rogue Wave have gotten a lot of notice from some other big names in the indie pop world, playing shows with Spoon, Destroyer, Mates of State, Super Furry Animals, The Clientele and The Shins. There is good reason why Rogue Wave have garnered so much critical acclaim and it's called Out of the Shadow."