Rogue Wave’s 2004 debut album, Out of the Shadow, was an immediately memorable mix of bright, melodic indie pop and off-kilter, art-rock time shifts. It made you want to tap your foot, but often made it quite difficult to keep time. It was one of those albums that got better the more time you spent with it, as the internal logic of the songs revealed itself.
Over the course of their next two albums they did what bands with art rock tendencies often do — travel a fair distance up their own backsides. The songs became turgid and overengineered.
With this year’s Permalight, however, they are back in the sweet spot and then some. It’s still got that angularity — it takes a few listens to really get a grip on it — but at the same time it’s the most straightforward, hooky album of their careers. One of the best surprises of the year so far.
Here’s the title track, the closest thing they’ve ever done to a disco song and one of many cuts that has totally ear wormed its way into my brain.