Rogue Wave Descended Like Vultures on LP + Download
Historians, rock critics and sports announcers have all spent plenty of time waxing poetic about the sophomore slump, but don't waste any time pulling out that reference for 2005's Descended Like Vultures, Rogue Wave's second album for Sub Pop. While the album defied expectations as much as it defied the odds, singer/guitarist Zach Rogue knew the score: "That's the whole thing with the title," he admits. "It' like waiting for the other shoe to drop this perception that everyone around you is going to turn their back."
A related adage is that you have your whole life to write your first album and a year to write your second, but Rogue had anything but writer's block after completing Out Of The Shadow and seeing it re-released by Sub Pop in 2004 (the original, limited pressing was released on the band's own label in early 2003). In fact, the group entered the studio with more than enough material for a full-length (three albums worth, to be exact). "I've wanted to record records for years and years and years, so really, it's like someone opened the door for me to get started," explains Rogue. "I feel like Descended Like Vultures is actually the beginning this is really where we start."
Though Rogue assembled the Oakland, CA, quartet which included fellow multi-instrumentalists Pat Spurgeon (drums), Gram LeBron (guitar) and Evan Farrell (bass) in late 2002, Descended Like Vultures marked the first time the band's leader had ever made a record with a whole group in the studio. The band spent 10 days with Bill Racine (who also produced Out Of The Shadow with Rogue) at Supernatural Sound in Oregon City, OR, resulting in the creation of 11 tracks that journey through a dreamy landscape inspired by several decades of classic rock and pop (from Fleetwood Mac to Neil Young to My Bloody Valentine.) The Mark Kozelek-esque "California" and the XTC-flavored "Catform," both feature cold yet inspired examinations of human nature informed by Rogue's experiences on the road.
For the first time as an entire unit, Rogue Wave went out of its way to create a free-flowing album that includes equal amounts of tension, release and resolution. In the process they made a brilliantly layered, expertly crafted album that changes shape with repeated spins.