Last year, Rogue Wave’s debut Out of the Shadow was the single most unjustifiably overlooked album by the music media. We here at Treble are will be damned if that happens again with their excellent sophomore effort, Descended Like Vultures. Descended Like Vultures is particularly noteworthy as well, because it marks the first time that front man Zach Rogue recorded an album with the whole band in the studio.
Opening track “Bird on a Wire” angles into a gnarly psychedelic draft as guitar gently reverberates into the resonance of a propelled fighter jet going into a tailspin. “Publish My Love” is glaring with the light of gleaming pop tenderness while “Salesman at the Day of the Parade” has Rogue singing in the foggy melancholy bittersweetness similar to Elliott Smith’s From a Basement on the Hill. While containing similar components, the track does not itself seem like a carbon copy of Smith’s heart tugging swan song, held together by a luminous acoustic breeze. This song would be the perfect song to play to talentless industry manufactured prima donnas like Jason Mraz and Gavin DeGraw and shout: “This is how it’s done, bitch!”
A little bit of Love is in the air for the verses in “Catform” while the chorus contains a rhythmic friction similar to Bowie during the years when he was making the Berlin trilogy. “Love’s Lost Guarantee” is like Phil Ek remixing a David Fridmann production. “10:1” just made me want to throw my hands up the first time I heard it to acknowledge that finally, the moment had come when an indie-rock band could mix melancholy and spunk together so well.
“California” is wonderfully packed with rainy day folk musings and Bill Racine shows what an exceptional producer he is with the slightly doom-ridden shoegazing of “Are You on my Side,” as the fuzz and half buried harmonies spiral around its wall of sound like a gentle tornado. But if you’re looking for a true delight, than look no further than “You.” Cameron Crowe will be kicking himself in the ass for not making Say Anything in 2005 instead of in 1989 because after one listen of this song, it becomes clear that it should be blaring from John Cusack’s ghettoblaster (not that I have anything against Peter Gabriel).
Descended Like Vultures is among the most phenomenal releases of 2005. And if there’s one defining quality that makes it so great, it is that you can “feel” the music while it’s being played, and that’s even without any drugs to aid the experience.
The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
Mazarin – We’re Already There
The Grifters – Ain’t My Lookout