CD Review of Asleep at Heaven’s Gate by Rogue Wave
Recommended if you like
Nada Surf, Josh Rouse, Coldplay
Label
Brushfire
Rogue Wave:
Asleep at Heaven’s Gate

Reviewed by Mike Farley

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ogue Wave’s 2005 album, Descended like Vultures, was a breakthrough release for the California based four-piece. It also boasted so many good songs that you couldn’t help but wonder what the band would do next to top it. Well, if you’re a fan of Rogue Wave, you’ll be pleased that the formula has not changed much at all, and in fact their latest, Asleep at Heaven’s Gate, may be their best effort to date.

It’s a fine line to walk a tightrope between cool and popular. But Rogue Wave manages to do it with a sound that is equal parts Seattle grunge, California laid back (they are from Northern Cali), and New York indie rock. “Harmonium” takes almost two full minutes to launch its vocals, and at over six minutes long might be a curious opening track, but it’s one of the best of this bunch. “Like I Needed” sounds like it walked off of Descended Like Vultures. “Chicago x 12” and “Lake Michigan” are perfect examples of how to write songs that are catchy yet with elements that make them unique, interesting and very listenable. “Christians in Black” sounds retro and airy, a la Nick Drake. “Ghost” is another airy, harmony-drenched beauty, and “Missed” and “Cheaper than Therapy” are remarkably dreary as a rainy day. “Fantasies” is, if you can imagine, like Alice in Chains in the verses and the Beach Boys in the chorus.

What makes Rogue Wave such an appealing band is not just the textures and sounds that might make them alt-rock royalty, but the fact that they take really good songs and deliver them with a raw emotion that can make you feel like you’re a part of it all. Rogue Wave makes you nibble your musical food, not inhale it, but the end result all tastes good.

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