Nightingale Floors

Rogue Wave

Vagrant Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Formerly of the San Francisco outfit Desoto Reds, Zach Rogue took a brief jaunt to New York to record a couple songs in 2002 and things changed drastically in his life. He ended up returning to the Bay Area with pretty much a completed album and it was then that Rogue Wave was born. Things moved quickly for the newfound band. It wasn't too long after filling the outfit with local musicians from esteemed indie rock bands that Rogue Wave saw brief stints on prestigious labels such as Sub Pop and Brushfire, though on this fifth album they've found a home with Vagrant Records. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Rogue Wave covers a lot of bases here, walking swiftly between calm, dreamy sounds and more forceful indie rock with tempos that move from extremes. The band is perfectly adept at arena rock loudness on the charged “Siren's Song” but also seems at home on heartwarming ballads like “Without Pain” and “The Closer I Get.” Rogue's distinct, uplifting voice works like glue holding everything together, though the hooks, melodies, and jangly moments are so strong one wonders if the music alone could keep our attention.

Fortunately, we never find out – Rogue has a number of topics on his mind, very few of which are exactly upbeat. The death of his father, getting old, and general triumphs and disappointments that tie us all together as humans are explored, but it often comes through via upbeat songs like the twee-pop slanted "When Sunday Morning Comes" or the radio friendly pop rock on "College," which could easily give The Shins a run for their money. Of course this isn't always the case, as on "Figured It Out" where he gets contemplative with great acoustic strumming.

Rogue Wave is a consistently great band, and this new outing is just as luminous as anything they've done. If one had to pick an album that is a great representation of how a nearly flawless indie album sounds in 2013, Nightingale Floors would be an ideal choice.

Rating: A-

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Vagrant Records, and is used for informational purposes only.