Review: The Naked and Famous – In Rolling Waves
Published on September 20th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
If you happen to be a fan of In Rolling Waves, the second album from New Zealand “post-punk revivalists” The Naked and Famous, then we’ve got some bad news for you: you’re gullible.
Yes, you’re easily taken in by flimsy, relentlessly tonal and crushingly predictable songs just because they’re dressed up in big, washing-over-you production and granted a façade of edginess with some chattering electronics here and an ‘otherworldly’ vocal effect there. All too rarely, we might add.
In Rolling Waves is tailor-made to impress the hell out of halfhearted music journalists, with its arty earnestness, impassioned delivery and cinematic complexion. Get down to the nuts and bolts of it, though, and it’s verging-on-emo masquerading as electro-pop.
Hey, if it was all like the triumphant stomp of “Rolling Waves” then Rocksucker would be party to the gushing. Far more typical however is “The Mess”, which has a some nice harmonised boy/girl singing and a well-crafted climactic dynamic…
…but the tune in the middle is substandard, an all-too-easy grasp for TV-filtered ’emotion’ that sounds like The xx trying their damndest to score an episode of Hollyoaks or some such bilge.
We’d call it Postal Service lite, but it would be doing the Postal Service a disservice to even compare the two.
If it’s emo then it’s a highly evolved form of emo, we’ll grant it that, but its formula – while effective insomuch as its progressions have come to be equated with bittersweet scenes of lovers gazing out of rain-spattered windows – is ubiquitous.
In its weaker moment, such as “I Kill Giants”, In Rolling Waves sounds like *gulp* Evanescence. There, we said it.
The rumbling drum motif on “We Are Leaving” adds a late touch of class, but by that stage the declaration of its title comes as something of a relief.
In Rolling Waves is out now on Somewhat Damaged.
Rocksucker says: Two Quails out of Five!