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Rogue Wave - Out of the Shadows

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Artist: Rogue Wave

Album: Out of the Shadows

Label: Sub Pop

Review date: Sep. 6, 2004

After the self-release of their debut record Out of the Shadow last year, Rogue Wave have opened for everyone from the Clientele to Super Furry Animals. Their recent tour supporting the Shins, and the subsequent re-release of Out of the Shadow by Sub-Pop (with terrific new artwork), has catapulted them into the indie-rock spotlight. Like the Shins’ own debut Oh, Inverted World, Shadow lives up to the hype, and captivates from beginning to end.

Recorded almost entirely by singer/songwriter Zach Rogue during a trip to New York _ after losing his day job _ Out of the Shadow's blissful indie-pop tunes are as affecting as they are catchy. The melodies and textures of the songs _ especially the opener “Every Moment” _ are automatic. Big choruses and hummable hooks avoid cliché triteness and Rogue's sincerity rarely comes into question.

Rogue’s offbeat lyrics help compensate the three-minute, verse-chorus-verse format of Shadow's songs. The pretty "Postage Stamp World," one the album's quieter moments, starts with a boy whose mother walked out, and builds to the refrain, "It's a postage stamp world/ You get what you want/ You can all get in line and lick my behind." (Granted, on paper the line looks ridiculous.)

Rogue Wave's influences are not in short supply. From Guided By Voices to Elliot Smith to the Beatles, Rouge Wave's mentors pop up everywhere. In “Sewn Up” and “Endless Shovel,” shoegazing guitars swirl into a wall of sound, while Rouge’s vocals - clear and melodic - rise through the mix. The method is juxtaposed on the folky “Be Kind + Remind,” but the shifts in dynamics never obscure Rogue's pop sensibility. One of the best debuts of the year.

By Jon Pitt

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