20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Rogue Wave’s Permalight by Marc Sollinger

Rogue Wave's Permalight does nothing to differentiate itself

PREVIEW: VISIT Rogue Wave’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 9/20

There is hardly a reason to give Rogue Wave’s new album Permalight more than a single listen. Not because the album is terrible, but rather because Permalight comes off as boring.  Mind-numbingly, ear-dullingly boring. It’s sun-drenched, synthesizer-driven indie rock, just you’ll find in a thousand car commercials.  Rogue Wave used to be an interesting part of the musical landscape; essentially a Elephant 6 band with the twee removed and a poppier sound.  Rogue Wave were never great, but they were likable enough.  But now, either in a misguided attempt to sell out (one that obviously isn’t working) or an even more misguided attempt to follow their muse, they’ve remade themselves into Death Cab For Cutie’s less talented cousin.

Songs like “Per Anger” and “We Will Make A Song Destroy” are fine.  There’s nothing overtly wrong with their jangly guitars and sing-along lyrics.   They’re pleasant enough, and they certainly won’t actively repel the listener.  It’s just that being pleasant isn’t reason enough to listen to Permalight.  Rogue Wave does absolutely nothing to distinguish itself from Death Cab, Phoenix or The Shins— bands that do the same thing as Rogue Wave, just much better.  The whole album comes off feeling derivative and uninspired, with songs that are not even catchy enough for listeners to forget that fact.

Overall, Permalight is the very definition of a mediocre record.  It’s not bad enough to hate it, but there’s nothing in here that could justify playing it.  The only response it elicits is a great big shrug.

-Marc Sollinger


1 Comment

Wrong. So wrong. If you listened to it more than once, unlike this guy suggests, you would realize it is anything BUT mediocre. Permalight is a delight for Rogue Wave fans, a little pop-ier than their previous records, but with just as much attitude from Zach Rogue (Zach Schwartz). The album features songs ranging from sentimental (I’ll never leave you) to dance-worthy (Permalight). Obviously, those listening to this album the most will be previous fans, who are used to edgier tracks, but Permalight both attracts a new audience with its slightly more listenable sound, and delights old fans with something in the same vein as what they have previously produced, but a little different.
And, to an active listener of both Death Cab and the Shins, Rogue Wave sounds nothing like these mainstream bands.
Standing as evidence to my claims is their current tour, promoting Permalight. I went to their show in DC, and the club was absolutely packed. There was hardly a place to stand, and everyone was insanely excited to be there. If you are ever in doubt about Rogue Wave, go to their shows. They give the best show I have ever experienced, and I’ve been three times.
Also, to the author of this review, a little advice: brush up on your grammar.

Comment by Jo

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