Release The Sunbird
Elliot Smith, Rogue Wave, Edward Sharpe
Though summer in the Bay Area isn't the sunniest, that doesn't stop Release The Sunbird from unleashing a fresh flock of sun-soaked tunes and buzzing melodies onto the part of California known for its backwards weather. Theirs is a debut album that straddles the line between atmospheric harmonies that cool you off on a sweltering summer day, or in some cases, warm your mood when the sun forgets to shine.
Rogue Wave was definitely the little indie rock band that could. The hometown heroes started out back in 2003 with the release of Out of the Shadowon Sub Pop Records and now, after appearing in soundtracks to films as diverse as Napoleon Dynamite to a Jennifer Aniston floated chick flick, everyone from your little brother to your boyfriend's mom knows who they are. Or who they were? We can't conclude for certain that Rogue Wave has broken up, but we do know founder and lead singer Zach Schwartz aka Zach Rogue is currently pouring his heart and soulful vocals into another project after spending some studio time in Bloomington, IN. Release The Sunbird's debut album Come Back To Us was just released July 26th on Brushfire Records and already has given hardcore Rogue Wave fans a slightly more acoustic tune to hum, as well as reeled in aficionados of folk from all over.
Album opener, "It's All Around You" reflects the same cascading instrumental momentum that the album builds on as a whole; a gentle intro slowly builds and then bursts into a melodic assault. But perhaps my favorite "trick" that Rogue pleasantly surprises the listener with in almost every song on the album is the quirky instrumental additions he throws in, such as an organ or synth. Kate Long joins in with her angelic vocals, elevating the project's folksy sound- so much so that "Why Can't You Look at Yourself" almost gives off a country twang. That's the beauty of this album: it's a folk album at heart, but was created by someone with such a large breadth of musical wit that the gratifying listening experience comes mostly from the tiny dips he takes into other genres.