Alright, time to set the stage for the proceedings of awesome. Picture the most bare canvas of spaces. Something tranquil and empty, and yet so full and mesmerising you can’t look away. The universe would be a good image to visualise. Now combine that unfathomable amount of space with Fantasia. C’mon, really collide that shit with the force of the gods. Rub it together. I’m talking an unstoppable force meets an immovable object levels of intensity. I want you to thrust that Fantasia-Universe concoction with the fury of your 5 year old self, having just hijacked your sister’s Barbie collection, and you’re mashing the plastic genitals against each other in an attempt to simulate your own sex education. Really grind and mesh those two concepts into a single, blub ridden mess. Looks beautiful doesn’t it? Looks as majestic as Aslan the Lion sipping a Corona, right? Well that image you’ve just constructed has a name. You can call it ‘In Rolling Waves’, or the new Naked and Famous album.
The Kiwi alternative pop group’s second attempt at creating perfection has come damn fucking close. Indeed, the entire first half is pop brilliance, a full, verbose sound that cuts like glass. You’ve got your Massive Attack open plain build up opener with ‘A Stillness’, which grows as organically as Jack’s Bean Stalk, starting off small but pushing into the clouds within a few swift movements. Then pop majesty incarnate with the recent radio stalwart ‘Hearts Like Ours’, which thumps in jaw-dropping confidence, rushing off the ground and into our collective consciousness with scary stamina. After gasping with overwhelming pleasure by the second track, ‘Waltz’ brings tricks down to a seductive icy glare, before ‘Rolling Waves’ shoots everything right back to the full force of pop’s Large Hadron Collider. But lo and behold, ‘The Mess’ destroys all in its path with hammering synth walls that showers the listener in a spectrum of radiating electro-pop. Truly stunning stuff.
So, after five songs of pop brilliance, where do The Naked And Famous have to go. In terms of comparison to the previous songs on the album, they come in as slightly less-inspired and don’t contain as much of the do-or-die enthusiasm of the earlier songs. That being said, they are still amazing songs. Hey, not everything Freddie Mercury wrote was up to the standard of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but that’s just because the bad was set so high. I’m sure Wayne and his buds could’ve rocked out to any song in the Queen catalogue with just as much enthusiasm. Such is the case for ‘In Rolling Waves’. There’s still plenty of treasure to be dug up.’I Kill Giants’ hops around on synth javelins, whilst ‘We Are Leaving’ maintains a fantasy epic structure, skating on hurt pride, just going to prove the diversity The Naked And Famous can show in their sound.
This leads to the main point of ‘In Rolling Waves’, in that The Naked and Famous are exploring unknown territory. It seems to be what a lot of bands are doing right now, to varying degrees of success (Cloud Control=YAY! James Blake=Meh). The Naked and Famous prove that although they’re on shaky ground, they’re doing it confidently, and that they still totally own their trademark epic pop. But with the added dimension and depth that this second record has, as compared to the high intensity of their debut, The Naked and Famous have more ability to flow than be compressed.
‘In Rolling Waves’ was released on Friday, which means you can get it. The Naked and Famous are playing the 2014 Big Day Out, along with two of my all time favourite bands Mudhoney and Blur, as well as the blazin’ DIIV, Toro Y Moi, and Flosstradamus. GO! BEGONE! BUY THE TICKET! TAKE THE RIDE!