20 Watts

ISSUE 21 | Reviews: Rogue Wave’s Permalight by 20watts
April 1, 2010, 1:51 am
Filed under: Issue 21, Issue 21 Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

20 Watts' gives Rouge Wave's Permalight 10/20 Watts

Part of our ISSUE 21 coverage!

PREVIEW VISIT Rouge Wave’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT 10/20 Watts

With Permalight, Rogue Wave don’t offer many good reasons to listen to their new album twice. Not because the album is terrible, but because Permalight is, for lack of a better word, boring. Its sun-drenched, synthesizer-driven indie rock is cut from the same mold as what you hear in a thousand Toyota commercials. Rogue Wave used to be an interesting part of the musical landscape – essentially a poppier, twee-less Elephant 6 band. But now they’ve remade themselves into Death Cab for Cutie’s less talented cousin.

Songs like “Per Anger” and “We Will Make a Song Destroy,” with their jangly guitars and sing-along lyrics, are pleasant enough to listen to. But pleasantry is hardly reason enough to listen to Permalight. Rogue Wave does absolutely nothing to distinguish itself from Death Cab for Cutie, Phoenix or The Shins – bands which all play essentially the same music as Rogue Wave, but played it first, and played it much better. The whole album comes off feeling derivative and uninspired, and the songs are hardly memorable enough for listeners to ignore that.

But Permalight does serve a purpose – it helps us to further define the mediocre record. While not bad enough to hate, nothing in Permalight’s forty minutes justifies listening to it more than once. The album elicits is a great big shrug, and not much else.

— Marc Sollinger

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