Hearing Aide: Rogue Wave “Delusions of Grand Fur”

California based Rogue Wave’s six studio album Delusions of Grand Fur – the band’s first release since 2013’s Nightingale Floors – is a progression, if not a departure, from their customary sound. Despite the change of pace, Delusions of Grand Fur provides a welcome and sometimes synth-fueled soundtrack representative of the mellow, coastal sounds of the West Coast. Recorded and produced by the band in their own home studio in Oakland, Delusions of Grand Fur is representative of spring with tracks such as “California Bride” and “Ocean.”

Rogue Wave is a quartet led by Zach Rogue, who also serves as the principle song-writer. The space between Delusions of Grand Fur and previous albums, and the band’s self-led production, has allowed for growth and experimentation that is apparent on this album. The title itself – a pun meant to emphasize the misconceptions of life in a band – also places emphasis on the listener not to underestimate or enter with preconceived expectations concerning the band’s sound.

The album opens with “Take it Slow,” particularly reminiscent of The Shins, and sets the tone for the remainder of the album. This leads into the following two tracks “In the Morning” and “California Bride,” the latter showcasing beach-y and pop-y lyrics, with melancholy undertones. While “What is Left to Solve” initially sounds like a departure, with the heavier bass, after a few listens it fits in with the album as a whole.

Falling” similarly is mellow and harmonic, again pairing positive melodies with more somber lyrics, such as: “We live in an era where everything is for sale.” Lyrics such as these feel particularly relevant given the state of the current primary elections. The next track “Curious Me” is reminiscent of Elliot Smith in sound if not in theme.

Perhaps a favorite track on the album is “Ocean,” departing from the mellow themes to supply a refreshingly more upbeat and pop-ish reprieve. Though different, it still fits with the remainder of the album. Overall, this is a solid release, if at times certain tracks seem a bit too derivative of The Shins and Simon and Garfunkel (particularly, “Fallen”). Similarly, while enjoyable, the repetition of lyrics in other songs (“Look At Me”) can be a bit trying. These minor aspects aside, this is a great album to sit back and relax to.

Delusions of Grand Fur is released on Friday, April 29. They are on tour this spring and summer with Hey Marseille and Floating Action.

Key Tracks: Curious Me, Oceans, Falling

Catch Rouge Wave on their upcoming tour:

5/5/16 Oakland, CA @ Starline Ballroom
5/6/16 Mill Valley, CA @ Sweetwater Music Hall
5/7/16 San Francisco, CA @ The independent
5/10/16 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
5/11/16 Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
5/12/16 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
5/13/16 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
5/14/16 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/15/16 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
5/17/16 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
5/18/16 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
5/19/16 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
5/20/16 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
5/21/16 St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
5/22/16 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
5/24/16 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
5/25/16 Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club
5/26/16 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
6/9/16 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
6/11/16 Austin, TX @ Mohawk Outdoors
6/12/16 San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
6/17/16 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom