Best Enjoyed with: A bottle of wine, hopefully with your better half. They need to stay; you need to prove to them that everything will be ok. Pour them a drink and pour yourself two. Just settle in for the evening, have a conversation, and just fall in love once more.

It wasn’t too long ago where we all grew feverishly acquainted to the Kiwi Quartet that threw us onto the dance floor, took our hands and intimately made our hearts heavy with infectious post-punk electro-pop that was just outrageously incredible. After settling with a new location in Los Angeles, The Naked and Famous return with their second album In Rolling Waves, a battle of light and shade that reminds us that even the brightest of characters do occasionally have a dark edge.

There is always a hard pressure to circumnavigate when it comes to follow up albums; this varies due to popularity and acclaim, where expectations are either met within listeners or completely severed disappointingly. In Rolling Waves would certainly fall into this trap, as it doesn’t have the same vibrant intensity as Passive Me, Aggressive You, which might not satisfy a few listeners. But this in no way is a standpoint in claiming that this album isn’t any good, no, quite the opposite really.

From the discordant loops and acoustic strums that introduce us to A Stillness, it becomes clear as an intensity envelopes you that In Rolling Waves will challenge your emotive state and will plunge you into an atmospheric quandary at any given moment. The subject matter is devastatingly incredible, where the heart wrenching journeys through love lost and the last threads of relationships are stretched and explored, where the notion of romance and separation either blossoming or falling apart. A great example of this is Golden Girl, as what may be a ballad about someone’s better half secretly has a bittersweet double edge. These challenges in subject matter appear throughout the album, showing a greater depth from their previous work as they’re placing their emotions in the forefront.

In Rolling Waves is accomplished, and beyond its age, as it carries you along spacious soundscapes and sensual vocal melodies provided by Alisa Xayalith’s fragile voice and Thom Power’s deep emotive responses, that it unnervingly manages to rattle the cages of your heart-shaped box. This is something that is discovered well within tracks Walts and What We Want , as it has these almost deep journeys of space and tone that pushes from what you hear in relation to what you feel and sync into, which is an emotional barrage that is relatable and empowering. This is something that comes amazingly to light after the very first listen, and only gets stronger within every listen following. Persistence pays off, which I feel is something that the band themselves were accomplishing with their discovered sound, a deeper understanding and a truly personal attempt at making something more than a standard pop-record. Though, Hearts like Ours is distinctly a perfect pop-track that only Naked And Famous can pull off.

Yet it does dawn upon me that those who truly fell deeply in love with Naked and Famous’ debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You might feel a shock of sorts, as you might either love their new direction or absolutely detest it as it doesn’t have the same percussive energy as before, but In Rolling Waves is an embracing album, one that will challenge your emotions almost immediately. It may divide the devout fans, yet overall with those who remain will enjoy the more interesting path the group has chosen, one that is slightly darker and emotionally engaging. And after several listens it’s easier to see the bridges connecting both albums, but their new sound is more enrapturing and hypnotic and provides more space for an emotional attachment. Either way, it’s an amazing album and definitely worth letting it’s waves envelope you.
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