Rogue Wave’s fourth album represents something of a comeback. With the death of bassist Evan Farrell in 2007 and frontman Zach Rogue recovering from a recent partially paralyzing neck injury, the band’s efforts on Permalight really show them getting through the storm and back to business. On the band’s blog, Rogue promised “a more body-moving album.” Although Permalight is by no means electro, it does have a more upbeat sound to it – the influences are less Death Cab For Cutie and more The Postal Service. At first, the band’s new approach is fresh and dynamic, but by the end, their tact begins to get tedious.
Permalight starts off with a couple of great tracks, including “Solitary Gun,” an acoustic guitar number in the grain of previous Rogue Wave hits, and “Good Morning (The Future),” the album’s first synth-heavy single. The songs then begin to get repetitive, picking up briefly with “Permalight” and “Right With You” before trailing off again. A strong start and weak finish is typical of most Rogue Wave releases – after a once-over listen, most people will want to skip the majority of the tracks and just listen to their favourites. The album also draws some derision for being too reminiscent of synth-pop sensation Owl City, even though Rogue Wave has been making music for much longer. Still, Permalight can be enjoyable, and there’s a lot to be said for getting back on the horse after a rough fall.