Rogue Wave
Wed Aug 25
1001 SE Morrison

The 347th Sub Pop renaissance (with an emphasis on Pop this time, thankfully) continues with the reissue of Rogue Wave's monumental debut CD, Out of the Shadow. Though the album was originally self released by singer/songwriter Zach Rogue, it feels utterly at home on Sub Pop, not least of all because Rogue seems to have assimilated many of the best influences the label has to offer. Throughout the album, there are unmistakable melodic and textural traces of The Shins, Jeremy Enigk, Postal Service, Iron and Wine, and others, which is not to call Rogue Wave calculated. It's more like all the bands seem to draw water from the same well--the pop is gentle but not sissy, classic but not boutique, and emotional without bathos. For a record that was supposedly recorded in the midst of an existential crisis, Out of the Shadow sounds remarkably cool-headed and assured. If Rogue Wave was born of despair, the songs answer with a subtle but insistent hopefulness.

Prior to this band, Rogue was a member of the SF kitsch pop outfit Desoto Reds, whose music, while highly enjoyable, never comes close to the intimacy offered here--though Reds frontman Alex Sterling does play keys and sing harmonies on several songs. The difference may simply be one of intention. Though the writing and playing on Out of the Shadow feels masterful, the overall tone is humble, as though Rogue is singing to himself. It's a pleasure to be allowed to listen in.