Never was a record so aptly named as Rogue Wave's debut, Out of the Shadow. Initially released in 2003 by a Bay Area micro-indie, the LP easily could have become one of those legendary lost gems. Instead, Sub Pop swooped in to the rescue, re-releasing the disc in 2004 and sending the band on tour with such like-minded labelmates as the Shins. Now all that awaits Rogue Wave's pop immortality is a spot on the soundtrack to Zach Braff's follow-up to Garden State.
Like the Shins' second LP, Rogue Wave's latest is more layered than its first, more polished and considered. But some of Shadow's spiky intensity has been subdued in the process; Rogue Wave has settled into a comfortable dream-pop sound. Track for track, Descended is gorgeous -- melodic, with an air of sun-bleached melancholy not too different from that of Vultures, but missing some of that album's desperate, snarky gloominess. Out of the Shadow was a surprisingly tart pleasure; the many joys of Descended Like Vultures, however, seem prematurely reliable.