Rogue Wave: Delusions of Grand Fur

Delusions of Grand Fur is Oakland quartet Rogue Wave’s sixth studio album since 2004, and their first for Los Angeles’ fledgling Easy Sound Recording Company label. Aside from the synthy “What Is Left to Solve” and its similarly styled twin neighbor “Frozen Lake”, the rest of the songs collected here are all slow to mid-tempo guitar-based numbers that share a laid-back and pleasantly carefree attitude.

The record opens appropriately enough with “Take It Slow”, a catchy track with overlapping, joyous vocals that bring to mind that feeling of driving down a long country road with the windows down. “In the Morning” follows and is able to successfully sustain the emotion of the preceding song while picking up the pace ever so slightly. “California Bride” concludes the album’s first trio of songs and is a bit heavier in terms of instrumentation, providing an edgy bridge which takes the listener on a short detour before returning to a soaring chorus.

“Look at Me” may be the moodiest offering on Delusions of Grand Fur, but by this point the band has earned the listener’s trust, and while the track is a definite departure from the record’s initial three songs, it comes across as a welcome diversion. “Falling” is the album’s acoustic centerpiece that, in addition to lightly strummed guitars, cleverly utilizes airy room noise and a charming electric piano. “Curious Me” is another slow number that finds drums and a simple lead guitar riff building around a reverb-heavy piano. The aforementioned, somewhat out of place, synth-heavy twins “What Is Left to Solve” and “Frozen Lake” close out the second third of the album.

With its gleefully irresistible chorus and pleasantly varied shifts, “Endless Supply” is the strongest and most memorable track on Delusions of Grand Fur, and it rightfully leads the charge into the album’s final four. “Ocean” rides the momentum of “Endless Supply” while the record’s last two songs, “The Last Picture Show” and “Memento Mori” wind things down significantly, closing out the set by gently leaving the listener in the fading glow of an acoustic guitar and lightly bubbling electronics.

Delusions of Grand Fur finds Rogue Wave wisely doing as much as they can with what talent and ingenuity they have as a collective whole. Lead singer Zach Rogue has a fittingly soothing and delicate voice that is made more effective when harmonizing with his bandmates. Similarly, when Jon Monahan’s guitar is joined with Rogue’s, especially on the record’s acoustic numbers, the richness and warmth is enhanced tenfold. Overall, Delusions of Grand Fur is a solid release and a welcome soundtrack to spring 2016.

Rating: 8.3/10

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