If the music biz took applications for power-pop professionals, Zach Rogue's résumé would be killer. On its debut, Out of the Shadow, his San Francisco quartet flaunts its many melodic references: high-lonesome country tunes, Simon & Garfunkel-style ballads, sunny Big Star introspection. If those credentials weren't enough, Rogue Wave's plum opening slot on the Shins' recent tour underscores the two groups' similarity in wrapping intelligent, ephemeral music in a tapestry of cozy community. But a stripped-down number like "Postage Stamp World" revels in its originality, telling a brother-sister story full of intimate diary details and lived-in poignancy. Throughout the record, Rogue's slight, nimble voice manages to encompass the many moods of his effortlessly pleasing songs, and his lyrics eschew both the gloomy and the sophomoric. At a time when Spoon, the New Pornographers and other talented indie bands captivate with their dexterous pursuit of pop-rock hooks, Rogue Wave deserves to stand proudly alongside its better-known peers.
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