Rogue Wave's Bang of Four

Rogue Wave's Bang of Four
Somewhere between talking about the odds of a short life expectancy for flight attendants and the poor American healthcare system currently doing little for his injured thumb, a good-spirited Zach Schwartz — or Zach Rogue, as he's known onstage — lists the benefits of trading in the status of singer-songwriter for a full-on band. "It's more exciting because there are more options now," says the singer/guitarist and songwriter. "I do have control freak issues that I try and corral the best I can. Change is important and I don't ever want to do the same thing twice."

After recruiting band members from the miscellaneous website Craigslist in order to tour his self-recorded debut, Out of the Shadow, Schwartz and company have recorded their first album together and regenerated the snappy pop of Rogue Wave. "I never wanted to be a singer-songwriter — that to me sounds so pedestrian and very limiting. Having these personalities who listen to different music makes the music more diverse, which I like. I want it to feel like ideas are ping-ponging around; I don't want the sound to be static."

Descended Like Vultures revels in ping-pong transitions, stirring up the quartet's sweet musings with a medley of noisy and quiet pop songs that reveal a darker side of the music — something that surfaced during the band's travels. "I had never been in a touring band before [Out of the Shadow]. Driving all over the country and seeing the poverty, loneliness and political rhetoric — all of this polarising crap — just poisoned everything and affected us in the kind of sonic texture that we were feeling next to the lyrics," says Schwartz.

"You can't help but feel a bit of emptiness when you drive across these huge plains in Utah or Iowa; it really gets into your head. I think the first record was kind of optimistic like, ‘What would it be like if I were a musician?' and then the second one was more like, ‘Oh, that's what it's like.'"