Descended Like Vultures
Descended Like Vultures is a low-key, indie-pop gem packed with plenty of hooks, sweet melodies, and a judicious use of spacey effects and reverberated vocals. Rogue Wave’s memorable debut, 2004’s Out of the Shadow, was basically a Zach Rogue solo project; this time he adds a three-piece backing band to achieve a fuller sound. And fuller it is, especially on the noisy “10:1” and the densely packed “You” and “Love’s Lost Guarantee.” But the band contributes more than volume. The up-tempo songs are warm and dynamic, featuring layered guitars, subtle strings, strong harmonies, and synthesizers that rise like steam from the studio murk and then dissolve away. Rogue possesses a high, lingering voice that lives somewhere between drowsy and detached, making certain lines hard to pick out. But if some lyrics are difficult to discern, the mood is not — think temporary rainy reclusion as opposed to permanent angst, a tone he nails perfectly on “Temporary” and “California,” two gorgeous acoustic ballads. Here’s hoping that Rogue keeps this band around next time he ventures into the studio.