The Naked And Famous have come a long way in recent times. A second album sees the New Zealand group bring a further evolving sound to their fans, who have been waiting three years since the New Zealanders’ debut album ‘Passive Me, Aggressive You.’
Following-up a massively successful debut album can often be the toughest challenge for a band. ‘In Rolling Waves’ opens with the unaccustomed A Stillness, an electro-acoustic, psych-pop, indietronica, synth tune. Did I fit enough in there? Whichever genre this act supposedly proclaims to be theirs; it really doesn’t matter when you can eclipse it with what is about to come.
Eliminating the trace left by the opening song, Hearts Like Ours leaves the speakers with blinding intent, brilliantly capturing pop in its most purposeful, modern adaption. In terms of its great production value, the inclusion of Joe LaPorta (who also mastered the band’s debut album) may well have something to do with the finished product.
During Waltz, singers Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith combine their voices sublimely; they sound weighty yet have the effect of a whisper wedding a tired ear. Listeners’ are likely to feel entranced. This song breezes through the soul without the slightest of intrusion. The clear expansion of their sound, and the increasingly live feel which transcends through their albums have settled one major ruling; ‘In Rolling Waves’ has not only met expectations, it’s generously exceeded them.
Further accomplishments are found throughout the album, notably, TNAF-stamped Rolling Waves, anthemic belter The Mess, and the bewitching, Grow Old. In the final moments of the album, further gems reveal themselves; I Kill Giants certainly laying its case for album highlight. What We Want shows them under a different light, with semi-credible lyrics and going nowhere a little; a rare exposure found on this record.
‘In Rolling Waves’ is composed, credible and gently radical; standing out sufficiently in the current scope of world music. Making those responsible for its creation feel warm inside, I’d bet.