If growing pains felt as beautiful as an album by The Naked and Famous sounds, then we might all return to our teens and experience them with a different attitude. This may sound like a bold statement, being that growth and change can be a real beast, but soon after it all hits the fan, you realize that everything will be alright. Their second full release In Rolling Waves, has that message embedded to its core. A remarkably mature follow up to Passive Me, Aggressive You, The Naked and Famous have triumphantly connected feelings of dissonance with hope and vulnerability. In Rolling Waves is broken down into songs that sound like diary entries, each deserving of their own heartfelt page. From first to last listen, they strap you into an emotional rollercoaster, but one that you secretly enjoy at the upside down parts.
Part one of leading vocals in The Naked and Famous is Thom Powers. His creative nature led him to an Auckland music college, where he met part two, Alisa Xayalith. There is something to be said for fateful meetings and the existence of both leading the band in vocals elicits a very dynamic presence on and off the stage.
“Alisa and I had pretty realistic goals when we began but the ambition for to be part of an international act became more realistic as our career as a DIY indie band progressed,” Thom remembers, “it just takes a long time to realize that dream.”
After two EPs, Powers and Xayalith became a quintet, adding a bassist, drummer and keyboardist. Their haunting anthem ‘Young Blood’ caught international attention and thrust these New Zealanders right into the musical spotlight. They have remained there, churning our hearts in a gritty, synth-induced blender. Get used to feeling painfully aware, and become blissfully content with the fact that this band has their grips in you.
The band will be touring most of 2014, hitting some major music festivals this summer, while calling LA their home. The closeness between living together and being a band is commendable, especially when there are five of you. “Our close lives together become an intrinsic part of our creativity but I think that goes without saying. The people closest to you affect your life.”
The band has managed to coerce their creativity into In Rolling Waves, with the sting of unavoidable discourse surfacing in every track. The album has a very connected feel, where their previous may have seem more scattered. Powers describes their band goals as being a mixture of set and also unplanned.
“Often we’ll try reach them and end up somewhere we didn’t expect to which can be exciting and invigorating anyway so the feeling of satisfaction is still there.” In Rolling Waves seems to combine both a streamlined and an uncharted brilliance in the way it flows. Anthem would-be “The Mess” is a song where both Powers and Xayalith act out a fight with harmonizing jabs of the intricately painful question, “How does it feel to be on the faultline?” I think we’ve all been on the faultline, at one point in our lives, but just as The Naked and Famous seem to believe, we’re all going to be alright in the end.
Catch The Naked and Famous at Rogers Arena, on tour with Imagine Dragons, on February 10th.
By Kristie Sparksman