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In Rolling Waves (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

New Zealand's the Naked and Famous made a big neon-colored splash in 2010 with their full-length debut album, Passive Me Aggressive You. That album showcased the group's catchy, dance-oriented sound that mixed gigantic analog synths with the group's dual male/female lead vocals from guitarist Thom Powers and keyboardist Alisa Xayalith. The group's 2013 sophomore effort, In Rolling Waves, still features Powers and Xayalith, but finds the band experimenting with a more moody, somewhat serious tone that makes room for some welcome acoustic guitar. Part of this move toward a more organic sound was purportedly due to the bandmembers' desire to record an album they could more easily play live. Which isn't to say the keyboards are gone. On the contrary, there are still plenty of fuzzy, old-school synthesizers all over the album. The acoustic moments simply add yet another tonal color to the band's palette, which is clearly expanding. Working with engineer Billy Bush, Powers and keyboardist Aaron Short took on the production duties, as did Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Paramore), who lent his sophisticated, pop-oriented ears to two tracks. One of those tracks, "I Kill Giants," is particularly epic in proportion and cinematic in its emotional momentum. In minor contrast to the band's previous effort, the moments of pared-down instrumentation here seem to offer a necessary respite from the intensity, providing necessary moments of calm as we anticipate the next joyous sonic wave. [An LP version was also released.]

Customer Reviews

A Slightly New Direction

The chemistry between the two lead singers Alisa Xayalith and Thom Powers is a great as ever in this album. In Rolling Waves takes a somewhat mellower rout than Passive Me, Aggressive You, but there are still a couple lively catchy tracks like Hearts Like Ours and I Kill Giants. I honestly wasn’t sure what I thought of the album when I first listened to it, but after the second listen it grew on me. Each track flows into the next very naturally.

The remixes in this deluxe edition follow the same spirit as their Passive Me, Aggressive You remixes and b-sides album. Each remix is a totally different song from the original and I’ve caught myself playing a few of them on repeat occasionally. Defiantly worth the extra few dollars for 13 more tracks.

Some fans of the Naked and Famous’ previous work in their last album and/or the EPs before that may not like the slightly different direction this album has taken, but I still think N&F fans should give it a try.

In love

The Naked and Famous are just an awesome band! Been in love with them ever since they came out, and they need to keep making more and more music!


Definitely doesn't rock as much Passive Me Aggressive You but has its catchy tones and rhythms.


Formed: 2008 in Auckland, New Zealand

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

New Zealand indie electronic ensemble the Naked and Famous make driving, melodic pop with an '80s post-punk influence. Centered around the talents of vocalist Alisa Xayalith and instrumentalist/vocalist Thom Powers, the band formed in 2008 and released two EPs before adding members to play live. In 2010 they released their debut album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, featuring the number one single "Young Blood." In support of their debut, the band went on a massive world tour, performing some 200 odd...
Full Bio
In Rolling Waves (Deluxe Version), The Naked and Famous
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Customer Ratings