Rogue Wave – 10:1

Zach Rogue has lost it. At least, the opening title track from the 10:1 EP wants you to think so.

More than a year ago, I reviewed Out Of The Shadow, Rogue Wave’s divinely beautiful, criminally underrated first album. In that review, I wrote ‘Zach Rogue has got it. It’s the X-Factor – that rare, indefinable gift for constructing intensely infectious melodies.’ My expectation, as such, was that 10:1 would see Rogue in typically fine musical form. After all, when the Gods of Music bestow genius upon you, it’s pretty rare that they take it away so quickly. (Look at Carlos Santana, the Rolling Stones and REM – it took all of them years of pissing off the Gods before they had every ounce of their brilliance cruelly revoked).

Zach must’ve done something pretty fucked up to the Gods of Music if 10:1 is anything to go by. It’s bizarre; crazy, loud noises, ugly production, vocals obscured by random filters, a by-the-numbers half-melody and an almost complete betrayal of everything that made Out Of The Shadow so incredible. What were Zach and his band thinking?

Thankfully, the remaining three tracks on the EP – inexplicably, the ones which won’t appear on the upcoming album Descended Like Vultures – make a convincing case for Zach’s genius surviving the brief struggle with second album syndrome that 10:1 seems to represent. Wait For It, especially, is Rogue at his disconcertingly, heart-wrenchingly, beautiful best, his voice rising above a four-tracked acoustic guitar like clouds above dewy, grassy mountains on a cold August dawn. Really.

It’s a shame 10:1 has been given the task of representing Rogue Wave for the next few months. By all rights, they should be as big as The Shins, loved by OC characters and discerning music lovers alike. That they’re not is a minor crime, but if Descended Like Vultures sounds more like Wait For It than 10:1, that could be the album that finally convinces the Indie Rock Brigade to start pinning Rogue Wave badges on their blazers.