Rogue Wave

Nightingale Floors

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The career arc of Zach Rogue and his band Rogue Wave is a pretty classic indie rock story. Starting off as a lo-fi one-man bedroom pop project and releasing the classic Out of the Shadows album, Rogue next formed a band, and over the course of three albums, expanded their sound (Descended Like Vultures), ruined it by getting too slick (Asleep at Heaven's Gate), then reacted by stripping things way down and adding a lot of vintage synths (Permalight). Now, on Rogue Wave's fifth album, Nightingale Floors, the band seem to have leveled off and made a record that folds all the elements of their previous work into one tightly wrapped package. With the help of a few people (most notably Masanori Christianson on bass and producer John Congleton), Rogue and longtime collaborator Pat Spurgeon split the difference between bedroom-quiet dream pop and joyful, out and about indie rockers, adding reverb-thick atmosphere to the slower songs and some sprightly bounce to the uptempo tracks. There are songs that come fully loaded with sound and drama, like the stadium-sized "Siren's Song"; there are those that dial it way down and whisper quietly, like the yearning ballads "The Closer I Get" and "Without Pain," and best of all, there are songs that show off Rogue's knack for hooky melodies and his wonderfully heartfelt and bouncy voice. The ultra-catchy "College" is probably the best of this batch, but the midtempo "When Sunday Morning Comes" rates high in the sweetness department, and the jangling "Figured It Out" has a melody that will lodge deeply in the brain. These songs are the best thing about the album by far, as Rogue Wave are a better pop band than they are balladeers or stadium rockers, but overall, the various moods and styles of song are balanced very well and it makes for a fully dimensional listening experience. It may not be Rogue Wave's best record, since Out of the Shadows still holds that honor, but it is the record that is the best at showing all the sides of Rogue the songwriter and Rogue Wave the band, and for that it is well worth checking out.

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