Rogue Wave

Descended Like Vultures
(Sub Pop)

Poor man's Shins no more, California's Rogue Wave moves past the dwarfish indie rock that defined its debut into grand, 70mm glory on its second record. You can tell right away, when the giant chorus blows up big in the center of "Bird on a Wire", with elephant-size drums stomping all over seesawing guitars. If it weren't such a backhanded compliment, you could call this a pop reading of Sunny Day Real Estate; there's certainly enough structural similarity: Zach Rogue's throaty bleat is at times a ringer for Jeremy Enigk's, and both bands have a fondness for gluing together song fragments that shouldn't rightly fit. But where SDRE was inclined to oversell with big yowls and huge electric crescendos, with the exception of the album opener, Rogue Wave is more fond of the soft option. "You" glides gracefully across crystalline guitars, and "Publish My Love" stirs up little spinning eddies of synth and drums. Making such small details feel as big as the Grand Canyon is Rogue Wave's master trick.

 
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