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Descended Like Vultures

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is where Rogue Wave, the band, really gets started. As Oakland-based singer/songwriter/arranger Zach Rogue puts it, "this record is the sound of four people's ideas colliding." Descended Like Vultures, Rogue Wave's second full-length for Sub Pop, is a velvety, darkly dichotomous album: pop vs. despair; hope vs. realism. Whereas Rogue's `04 release, Out of the Shadow, was for all intents and purposes a solo project, Descended Like Vultures finds Zach Rogue's unapologetic hooks and soaring melodies built up skyscraper-high by bandmates and mulit-instrumentalists Pat Spurgeon, Gram LeBron and Evan Farrell, who have grown close and road-seasoned thanks to a year of intensive international touring with The Shins, The Helio Sequence, TV on the Radio, and Mates of State. While the new album isn't an overtly political record, (rather, it's more humanitarian) Zach Rogue's impeccable songwriting was heavily informed by what he and his band experienced on the road. On this release, Rogue Wave leaves no stone unturned, no possibility unexplored.

Amazon.com

Descend Like Vultures is a fabulous collection of delirious, dizzy alt-pop. At times it reaches the highest acclaim any pleasantly detuned indie-rock can achieve: comparisons to New Zealand indie-rockers from the 1980s. Of course, those bands are fairly obscure these days and this Bay Area bunch may never have heard the Great Unwashed or Tall Dwarfs before. Regardless, they all share an equal love for pure, unbridled pop music and introspective experimentation. Rogue Wave's strummy debut was weighted closer to the pop side, while the new album leans more toward noise in content and pop in context (in the clean sheen of big studio production). In particular, "10:1" marks a new direction, towards a deep immersion in heaviosity. Let's hope the inclusion of "Every Moment" on the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack has raised the band's profile to where folks aside from kids who post to indie bulletin boards obsessively will hear this album. Vultures is darker, stranger and better than its predecessor. –Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B000BBOFKO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,917 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By somethingexcellent VINE VOICE on November 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For all intents and purposes, the first album from Rogue Wave (Out Of The Shadow) was a solo effort from lead man Zach Rogue that was later filled-in a bit with the help of some musician friends. At first, the group released the CDs on their own, and then like some sort of indie-band dream come true, they found the album re-remastered and re-released by Sub Pop, and the group went on tour in support of it. Enjoying a fair amount of chemistry together, they started writing tracks for a new release together.

Part of the charm of that first album was a sort of rough-hewn and even a bit scattered quality that no doubt came from the fact that one person played a large part in writing most of the songs. Descended Like Vultures then, is just about the complete opposite in most ways, with most songs bursting forth in polished in precise ways. These power pop (even rock, dare I say) tracks are offset a few quieter, understated moments where Rogue croons over more stripped-down instrumentation. "Bird On A Wire" opens the release with aforementioned bombast, and it's obvious that it's going to be an altogether different album than the quirky first release as waltzing verses sway with nervous, noisy punctuations and power ballad choruses.

"Publish My Love" is another sweeping track that utilizes multiple layers of guitar and an almost shiny production quality, and the louder moments stick out even more because of it. Basically, Descended Like Vultures sounds like the album you might imagine from the group in the first place if they'd had more of a production budget and decided to rock out more. On both "Love's Lost Guarantee" and "10:1" (and several other tracks really), one can hear the great melodies that the group pulled off on their first album magnified.
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I'm a Rogue Wave fan. I'm the only Rogue Wave fan that I know of, and it's a shame. I've been listening to them since their first album "Out of the Shadow" was released and have followed them closely since then. When I read that their newest album "Descended Like Vultures" was a departure from their first album, I was scared. Then I bought it. Wow.

There's really not a bad song on the album. There are definitely low points ("You"), but nothing worth trashing completely. The songs on the album range from soft, acoustic pop songs ("Salesman at the Day of the Parade") to undisputable distorted indie rock ("10:1"). If you're not a Rogue Wave fan, it might be a tough listen, but give it a shot and you're bound to find something you like. If you're a Eliot Smith fan, then there should be no problem making the leap into Rogue Wave territory, since Zach Rogue is surprisingly similar to the late artist. Give it a shot, listen to the samples, and judge for yourself. For me, I love it.
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Format: Audio CD
I think this record is great. Kevin, did you lose to Mr. Rogue in a battle of the bands in high school or something?
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Format: Audio CD
This album fits in quite well with its Sub Pop counterparts. It's sure to please fans of "Oh, Inverted World" and "Chutes Too Narrow", but don't get too caught up in the Shins comparison. "Descended Like Vultures" stands on its own two feet with a resumé stuffed with enough indie pop grandness, but also just enough variation to make it interesting.

Dabbing in both slow jams and high-powered electric pop tracks, Rogue Wave also takes the time to flavor the songs with intelligent, thought-provoking (and equally catchy) lyrics. Listeners will find the acoustic tracks well placed and paid their due attention. Did I just hear a hint of Bob Dylan in "Medicine Ball"?

I really find it difficult to say anything bad about this album. I was blown away and I've been having a hard time keeping this out of my CD player for the last two weeks. Highly recommended!

No two songs sound too alike. The vocalist noodles his way around every other instrument almost too well ... Preferred tracks: "Bird On A Wire", "Publish My Love", "Love's Lost Guarantee", "Are You On My Side" (can't I just say them all?)

Go ahead and get it. Give it two straight listens - you really shouldn't be disappointed.
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Format: Audio CD
Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures
Engineered by Bill Racine
Recorded at Supernatural Sound
Produced by Bill Racine and Zach Rogue

What makes Descended Like Vultures so interesting is that it's not only a strong and creatively brilliant album, it's a release that thoroughly defeats the sophomore slump curse that many artists fall victim: it's a superb follow-up.

Oakland based Rogue Wave takes their sophomore release further into experimental pop than their debut, which was largely focused on brooding folk pop. This album in comparison ventures into more textures, melodic atmospheres, and symphonic exploration. The song "Publish My Love" conveys both old and new song structure, taking from their debut the husky vocals and harmony, then blending them with textured My Bloody Valentine-like exploration.

The punchy "10:1" buzzes with a pulsing synthesizer, distorted vocals, and is further livened with a fast-paced roll on the snare. As a pop single, "10:1" stands above the rest because it's so simple - which greatly helps with its catchiness - it's built around a strong, noticeable beat, has snappy hooks and it doesn't overstay its welcome. Another album highlight, "Salesman at the Day of the Parade," rolls acoustic guitar melody in a humming wash of static while Zach Rogue's (singer/guitarist) lovelorn vocals synthesize a bridge between the folk and the Aphex Twin tricks. The song goes along this route for about two minutes when it suddenly erupts into a busy cacophonous wail leading into a thunderous climax, which closes the dramatic opus.
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