Rogue Wave - Asleep at Heaven's Gate

2008-10-03 11:23
You can hear the influence of recent anti-folk trends that made Bright Eyes a hero. But this band has the pace of images flicking past through a car window, and the same marvellous 90s-ish melancholy of Smashing Pumpkins, REM, and earlier influences like E.L.O and O.M.D.

Production that showcases the Rogue Wave's graceful energy, glueing together the elements of their style polishing the rock to a dry, sophisticated sharp edge that feels a little bit, um… French? Like Phoenix, not like the music that gets granny in the mood. Deft, moving arrangements give playful melodies more weight and power than they're worth.
Zach Schwartz's voice is so angelic that at first that you at first might not notice that his lyrics that make almost no sense at all, on their own. Even if you carefully mishear them, they're hard to figure out, and Zach pronounces them all pretty strangely. What the hell is "Christians in Black" all about? And why does it sound like "Christian in love" when he sings it? Well, so long as they keep these tracks swinging along, and keep throwing up thoughts and images, which all make their own random sort of sense.

The impact wanes in the middle of the album, but Asleep at Heaven's Gate is still worth playing to the end. Actually, stealing these guys from Sub Pop for his Brushfire label is the best work Jack Johnson's done in years.

- Jean Barker

One day, when you're sorting through the landfill-worth of average-to-poor indie pop that will be exported to South Africa in 2008 - they send it to third-world countries, you know - this will be one of the few albums you actually want to listen to again. It may not be the cleverest or the most original CD ever released, but it's got something - something special that is likely to always remain obscure.

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Bruce 2008/10/03 2:39 PM
Clips A message to the person responsible for the clips. With a band like this, the intros (the bit before they start singing) are long. Not one of the clips I listened to got as far as the singing- let's face it, the interesting bit! I don't know what restraints you have, but isn't it possible to record a verse or two?
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