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Rogue Wave:: Descended Like Vultures (Album Review)

In Magnet magazine, Rogue Wave leader Zach Rogue explained the title of his sophomore album by saying that “the vulture is one who judges.” Okay. And then, less than four minutes into said album, Rogue sings, “You could never publish my love.” Where’s the love, Zach? Haven’t you been reading your press? We love you, dude.

Unlike Rogue Wave’s timid debut, Vultures blazes forward with the kind of assured bravado not usually seen this side of U2. Whether it’s introspective ballads like “California” or the window-rattling bombast of the album’s first single, “10:1,” Zach Rogue is equally adept at painting sweeping vistas or monochromatic still-lifes.

The only thing standing between Rogue Wave and arena-ready success is knee-jerk critics who might blow them off as Shins wannabees (The Ankles?). While the 31-year old Zach Rogue does share Shins frontman James Mercer’s slurred delivery and innate melodic gifts, he far surpasses Mercer in terms of sheer likability. You simply can’t argue with a line like, “Screw California/Friends that are never there;” and this from a man who lives in Oakland, no less? Like Stonehenge, Nick Drake, or the perfect plum, Vultures is so infused with Quality that it stands as a monument not just to the human spirit, but to the origin of mankind itself. This album is a minor masterpiece.