Aim To Dream
The Naked and Famous have created an intriguing follow-up album to their debut Passive Me, Aggressive You. Thousands of miles away from their hometown of Auckland, New Zealand, the four-piece relocated themselves into Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills to record their sophomore album In Rolling Waves.
The length of many tracks provides room for some different genres. Opening track “A Stillness” showcases the band’s efforts to explore and dissect, using an acoustic guitar as the main instrument, a change of pace from their usual fuzz and synthesizers. “Grow Old,” the album’s midway point, is a slow, quirky and enjoyable six-minute ballad. And “We Are Leaving” is a little eerie and one of many songs featuring keyboardist Alisa Xayalith on lead vocals.
But the catchy pop melodies and synthesizers don’t disappear altogether. Singles “I Kill Giants” and “Hearts Like Ours” both contain all of the familiar elements that made everyone fall in love with “Young Blood,” and each song manages to break into enough of a sing-a-long to make sure no one is ever bored. “What We Want” starts a little dull but repeats catchy lines like, “I just don’t know what I want / You just don’t know what you want / Yeah we don’t know what we want,” that make you want to belt out the lyrics, too.
In Rolling Waves undoubtedly brings more to the table and the slight style change is welcoming. Maybe it’s because there are less upbeat synth-pop songs, or maybe it’s because the songs are longer and slower, but in any case, there’s a new sophistication on this album that wasn’t detectable in the band’s previous work.