It’s been three years since 2010 release of their debut, Passive Me, Aggressive You, and the New Zealand based Naked and Famous (TNAF) have obviously been working hard. The success of teen anthems Young Blood and Punching In A Dream made the album a very popular one, as young people trying to find themselves attempted to find the song on that cool advert or episode of Skins when their favourite characters were running through a park in the sunshine high or something or other. Life, let’s say.
That’s the kind of vibe TNAF gave off on their debut effort and it’s still there on In Rolling Waves, to some extent - but it has grown into something with greater depth and maturity. They have harnessed the energy in their sound instead of letting it dominate entire tracks, and it seems to have worked out for them. A Stillness opens the album, and the sound we hear is that of an acoustic guitar - a new venture - and though I’m not sure if it quite works the combination of this folky tone with the standard synth chords of TNAF leaves me intrigued as to what could possibly come next. The song finishes in a terrific manner, yet having said that, the final minute is very big and dramatic.
Many of the songs, if not all, on this album start slow and finish strong. They start with a teasing few notes and end with crashing drums and god knows what else, but it’s great. Hearts Like Ours and Waltz are anthemic summer tunes, and the former especially does have a very Young Blood feel to it. The beginning of Waltz sounds like it could be from The xx, and then embodies electronic-choral synth sounds - which is brilliant - boasting an ending that wouldn’t be strange on a Temper Trap album. The Mess was a song that surprised me, because two minutes in I was almost bored by sounds that we’d heard before from the band, and it was pretty uninteresting. But at two minutes twenty two seconds in, an electric guitar comes in with an insane and unexpected melody that I immediately love and it saves the song somewhat. From this point on, In Rolling Waves became an album that I thoroughly enjoyed.
It strikes me as an album that would become better after repeated listening, simply because when listening to it all at once it is hard to differentiate where one song ends and another begins. Regardless, if you’re a fan of metallic synths, lulls of delicate electronic melodies and bursts of sound much like the album’s namesake, then this is something well worth listening to, and worth downloading. Especially if you’re having an angsty moment and want to feel young and free and run off down a beach somewhere.
An excellent follow up to an impressive debut.