Rogue Wave is flimsy and unaffecting on Permalight

Where to start? The first single off Permalight, “Good Morning”, was a startlingly not-very-good-first-single-for-a-much-anticipated-album. And by not very good, I mean I was in some disbelief (alright, slight exaggeration) when I first heard it. It’s come to grow on me a bit, but upon that first listen, all hell broke loose (eh, maybe not as much of an exaggeration) — I didn’t wait four years for this! What was Zach Rogue (aka Schwartz) thinking?? I heard that the guys wanted to go “dancier” for a more accessible club pop feel on the new album, but “Good Morning” is not what I was expecting. A nasal voice during an electronic chorus doesn’t accomplish anything, Zach. Actually, I guess if you want awkward teeny-bopper dancing it works.

Now that I got that initial little shpiel out of the way, I sit here having listened to the entirety of Permalight ready to reflect on the changes Rogue Wave have made. Hell, has not, in fact, broken loose, but the album is not as good, plain and simple, as previous material. Permalight just doesn’t make the cut as solid Rogue Wave. There’s not much of any foundation for the record in general – it meanders along with some electronic (“Stars and Stripes”) tracks, some experimental (“Permalight”, which actually succeeds) tracks, and some downright dull (“Sleepwalker”) tracks (also, note that the three aforementioned tracks occur in order on the album). We’re thrown through an amalgam of this varying material, and while the guys certainly show their talent in crafting different sounds, we never know what to listen for. It doesn’t grab you by the horns, it doesn’t have any moments of brilliance, it doesn’t make you feel anything. Except, perhaps, detachment. Which essentially mirrors the sound.

My favorite tracks on the album, “Permalight” and “We Will Make A Song Destroy”, hearken back to older Rogue Wave (lush instrumentation and a full sound) while incorporating a bit of this new rogue-pop sound. If only the others did the same. You know, writing this review is actually bringing out a more negative opinion than what I had originally intended, so I apologize to any apologists. Unfortunately, though, Permalight lacks focus, fortitude, and general oomph (hellooo, Charlotte Gainsbourg). Oh, well. Maybe in four more years.

Rogue Wave – “Solitary Gun” [MP3]

Rogue Wave – “Good Morning” [MP3]

Purchase Permalight

2 comments to Rogue Wave is flimsy and unaffecting on Permalight

  • hilla

    i disagree. it’s wonderful.

    daniel Reply:

    i disagree as well. i don’t understand why so many people don’t like this album? i think that it’s different but still great! I did a review of my own on my website above.