Permalight

Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. The new formula will undoubtedly freak out some folks not used to shaking it like a Polaroid picture, but those willing to give the whole package a chance will be rewarded with a robust disc that deftly balances mindless fun with mindful focus.
  2. It’s still not easy to figure out exactly what Mr. Rogue has in mind with choruses like “They’ll lay their boot heel down for a solitary gun.” But the tunes, and the delight of singing them, are anything but unclear.
  3. The production, songs, and vocals are all perfectly in tune with each other, and the band has crafted a pretty impressive return to form. Permalight is still a far way from the bedroom origins of the group, but it’s also far from being a Coldplay knock-off, and anyone who’s been a fan from the start can certainly appreciate that.
  4. Under The Radar
    70
    Unpretentious, streamlined and--as Rogue himself proclaimed--overwhelmingly "up up up." [Winter 2010, p.65]
  5. 70
    Although the Oakland, California-based outfit bookends the record with lo-fi charm--the free-spirited “Solitary Gun” and stripped-bare “All That Remains”--Permalight also uncharacteristically departs into euphoric yet contrived electro-pop.
  6. The Auto-Tuned vocals and cluttered background instrumentation on the title track represents a low point of the album. Luckily, the second half of "Permalight" moves away from electronics and finds Rogue Wave returning to its guitar-based, head-nodding roots.
  7. In the three years since Rogue Wave’s last album, frontman Zach Rogue has discovered the synthesizer. This isn’t bad in theory, but in practice the newfound instrument does little to lift Rogue Wave to the next level.
  8. 60
    A jarring, but refreshing, makeover.
  9. Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, their new drive can be awkward. Even more unfortunately, it's most notable on what should be their catchiest songs.
  10. Overproduction ultimately damns this record as much as anything, with everything cranked to 11 and Rogue’s voice constantly reverbed. Permalight sounds like a band who’s incredibly eager to impress, which wasn’t how Rogue emerged on the scene, a singer of simple pop songs.
  11. Permalight is a startling contrast in subdued grace and awkward severity, alternately rewarding and punishing as the band seeks to craft a new voice without entirely abandoning the old.
  12. Most of the dozen tracks fall comfortably near the middle ground between those two ends. The result is something palatably hip without being overly threatening.

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