The band Rogue Wave is an unlikely venture from lead singer Zach Rogue, formed after Rogue fell victim to the dot.com crash. One doesn’t often make the bold move from the world of computer tech into indie rock but when the musical sirens’ call cuts through the hazy fog of unemployment, it is unwise to ignore it.
Touring in support of their latest album, Delusions of Grand Fur, Rogue Wave took the stage at Bowery Ballroom this past week to a moderately sized crowd. Lead singer Rogue and drummer Pat Spurgeon, the latter performing complete with Gene Shalit lookalike specs and coif, bounced intricate harmonies off of each other during the hour long set. The fivesome intermixed songs from past albums, including their most popular, “Lake Michigan” and 2006’s sweetly sung “Eyes,” while introducing their fans to tracks from their recently released album. One can hear the influence of former Death Cab for Cutie producer, Chris Walla on songs like “In the Morning” but there seems to be a struggle in organizing the overall voice of the band at this point, perhaps still living in the shadow of their previous softer ventures.
A blend of shoe-gaze and alternative dream rock, the songs never quite culminated in the free-for-all jam fest a live audience craves. It felt like nerd rock that couldn’t quite graduate into fully encompassing alt-rock, although the musical chops seem to be there. The finale had a tremendous build as the band finally seemed to be loosening their musical neckties but the lack of a scintillating guitar solo or soaring vocals made the show end more like a ballon allowed to slowly deflate.
It seems as if this version of Rogue Wave is in limbo. They clearly are evolving into something different, something bigger, and they have the skill set to do so. Their technical approach to song composition is strong, but lead singer Rogue’s in-between song banter was a scatterbrained stream of consciousness that tended to ostracize the audience. The album crosses too many spectrums to be considered a coherent compilation however each song on its own is a well-penned musical journey. One wonders if this band, as smart as they clearly are, will be able to harness that sought after lightness of being that allows the best artists not just to perform but to feel every note in their soul. That state of being is what every band chases and once achieved they no longer have to try, they just are.
Article: Hannah Soule