Hey kids, did you like that movie Garden State? I know you liked The Shins because you were seen buying the soundtrack the moment you got out of the theater. You just had to have that song that would “change your life.” Well Rogue Wave isn’t The Shins and despite their commonality in the indie pop/rock genre, this album is not another Shins album.
The first track, “Every Moment,” begins with a muted guitar melody playing in the background as Zach Rogue’s vocals crisply shine through the haze. Once the harmony drops the instant likeability of this band becomes increasingly evident. When the second track (“Nourishment Nation”) starts, the bouncy guitars and springy vocals force me to bop my head like a four year old listening to some type of new Barney track. I remember when I first heard this album this was the song I instantly wanted to know all the words to, only so I can run around singing the lyrics and forcing the song into the sub-conscience of anyone listening to me.
“Be Kind + Rewind” is the kind of song that makes you want to take a walk down to some area where autumn leaves fall all around you while you take in the beauty that the recent frost brings. Delicate vocals and an acoustic guitar are reminiscent of your common singer songwriter. Rogue’s soft yet soaring vocals are incredibly heartbreaking even when he’s singing the theme for all video stores, “Please be kind and rewind.” How is it that this man can turn such a mundane phrase into something worth a deeper look- a heavier analysis? The answer evaded me as I listened to the rest of the album, which in its own right has as many thought provoking and astounding moments as “Be Kind + Rewind.”
After listening to the entire album I’ve made the conscience decision to not relate them to The Shins because this is a band/man that has enough talent and musical insight to produce an album that draws from many influences. Traces of Elliott Smith, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Death Cab for Cutie can be found in this album and to say that this release is primarily influenced or completely similar to one band would be a misrepresentation of the entire album. Go out, current Garden State soundtrack listener, and experience something familiar but a little bit different. Zach Rogue has constructed an album worthy of praise- one that needs no mention of their label mates.
(Sub Pop Records)