"Lake Michigan" by Rogue Wave
After getting caught in The Shins' shadow with Out Of The Shadow, Rogue Wave distanced itself from its Sub Pop labelmate with 2005's Descended Like Vultures, a sublime sophomore disc that sported the kind of triumphant, dreamy pop that seemed like it might catapult the band to indie stardom. But that never happened, and now the Oakland outfit is trying its luck with Jack Johnson's Brushfire label. (Considering the band's watery moniker, that may fool the uninitiated into thinking Rogue Wave is another surfer-songwriter project.) Instead, the quartet has continued down the big, dreamy path, but this time, it's made things longer and denser, and as a result, Asleep At Heaven's Gate ends up feeling more sluggish than it should. The group replaced Bill Racine in the producer chair with Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Sleater-Kinney), and together, they've crafted a grand sound with plenty of great moments. Still, a lot of momentum gets lost when tracks pass the five-minute mark. Zach Rogue is still writing songs worth getting lost inside of, but they'd sound even better if he gave listeners an easier escape.