Asleep at Heaven's Gate
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2007, Volume 14, #12
Written by John Metzger
Fri December 28, 2007, 08:45 AM CST
Rogue Waveís third album Asleep at Heavenís Gate begins with a heart full of promise and a head full of ideas. Unfortunately, it also quickly (and quite frustratingly) devolves into a mindless blur of mediocrity. Taking a page from The Cure, the band affixes a lengthy intro to opening cut Harmonium, one that swerves from the crash-and-burn power chords of The Who to the taut guitars and anthem-revving intensity of U2 to the piano-bred pop of Coldplay. For a moment, it sounds terrific, but by the time the tune reaches its conclusion, more than six minutes later, it completely has worn out its welcome.
Although the rest of the songs on Asleep at Heavenís Gate are more tightly scripted, they all suffer a similar fate. Front man Zach Rogue, it seems, has huge ambitions as well as a wide-sweeping appreciation of rockís iconic topography. Where many outfits wed themselves to a particular era or style, Rogue Wave paints its arrangements with broad brush strokes. There are as many odes to the psychedelic í60s tucked into its work as there are nods to the alt-rock of the í80s. At the same time, the progressive tendencies of Pink Floyd and Genesis, the shimmering Brit-pop of Oasis, and the aggressive punk-ish fury of The Clash are never far from reach.
Rogue Waveís deficiencies, then, lie with its execution. For all of the concepts that it puts forward on Asleep at Heavenís Gate, thereís nothing that holds the material together. The melodies are beaten into submission, and they are distended until they break. Although the jagged lo-fi edges of the bandís work for Sub Pop have been smoothed out considerably, the end result remains equally problematic. Consequently, like its predecessors, Asleep at Heavenís Gate is filled with potential that is neither cultivated nor harvested. Instead, it simply is put on display, where it becomes tediously numbing rather than gloriously uplifting. Ĺ
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box