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Asleep At Heaven's Gate

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iTunes Review

Thirty seconds into “Harmonium,” the song that opens Rogue Wave’s third album Asleep at Heaven’s Gate, it becomes clear that they’ve gelled as a band and are eager to make a statement. Where their first two albums (both lo-fi, low-key gems) sounded loose, off-the-cuff, and vulnerable, the band is all polished precision here. Singer and songwriter Zack Rogue has a knack for melody and big hooks and Asleep is loaded with both (“Chicago X 12” is one of his best songs yet). With the exception of a pair of lovely, relatively subdued and straight-forward ballads (“Christian in Black,” “Missed”) the rest of the songs are honed to the finest detail, whether it’s a single ringing guitar note, a flourish of shimmering cymbals, or a piano chord drenched in reverb. By embracing the studio in a big way, they’ve created a dense, effects-laden sound heavy with overdubbed spacey guitars and dreamy keyboards, a liberal use of echo on the vocals, and lots of layered harmonies, and the often gorgeous results mark an interesting new direction for this promising band.

Customer Reviews

listen carefully and closely

At first listen, I was a little disappointed in this album. But then I was listening to it last night, followed by their two older albums, and I realized that this CD is just as good as the others, it just takes a slightly different approach. I'll get the one negative aspect out of the way now; the vocals do feel a little drowned out at times, which is something I feel like Rogue Wave shouldn't do because it's hard enough to understand what Zach is singing half the time anyway. (Having the lyrics booklet really helps, I suggest buying the actual CD.) However, the words aren't THAT obscured, and that turns me to what makes this album so great: layers and layers of instruments and music -- something Rogue Wave does very well. This album is by no means a pop album (I think it's less likely you'll find one of these songs on an OC soundtrack), yet I feel like every single track on the CD is strong in its own right. 'Harmonium' is the best opener they've come up with yet, 'Chicago X 12' is immediately warm and likable (plucked strings, acoustic guitar, and bells really work nicely on this one -- my favorite). 'Lullaby' has that catchy loud-soft, start-stop, up-down effect, 'Christians In Black" is beautiful and fits nicely between the tracks before and after it, and "Own Your Own Home' is a fantastic standout that would probably be GREAT to experience live. 'Missed' is reminiscent of their first album. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Rogue Wave definitely explored this time around, jammed out a little bit, and came up with something slightly less accessible, slightly more creative, and VERY interesting to listen to. Excellent musicianship. Unique lyricism. Highly recommended.

A wonderful soundtrack for my late twenties.

Jack Johnson's record label, Brushfire Records, delivers with the profound release from Rogue Wave. Zach's vocals on Lullaby are remiscent of Perry Farell from Porno for Pyros self titled album, paired with the addicting guitar melodies likened to Stone Temple Pilots. Listeners take delight that this once indie-band has matured into a group that creates wonderful music. This album can be enjoyed without the anxiety that there time will be up in 15 minutes as the next indie band comes along. It's a delight to listen to this album without having to compulsively search for approval from the blogosphere. My congratulations go out to all who brought this album to fruition. I look forward to a long and successful career for Rogue Wave.

3 listens and you're hooked

After buying this record and listening three times, you might find yourself unable to remove it from the car, which might get uncomfortable if you have a jealous home stereo. Better buy 2.


Formed: 2002 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Rogue Wave formed in 2002 when a newly unemployed Zach Rogue left his San Francisco home, visited friends in New York City, and returned to California with nearly a full album's worth of textured, cerebral indie pop. Rogue then quit his post in his previous group, the Desoto Reds, and finished the album, which was released on Rogue's own Responsive label under the title Out of the Shadow. As he was completing the record, Rogue decided to form a band in order to perform the material live, and he soon...
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Asleep At Heaven's Gate, Rogue Wave
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Customer Ratings