The Naked And Famous has a lot to live up to with their new album In Rolling Waves, set to release on September 17th. They are one of those pop bands that released their debut album and immediately filled U.S. radio stations, commercials, and TV shows until everyone and their grandmother had, at the very least, heard their hit single. Their lead single off of their first album Passive Me, Aggressive You was titled “Young Blood”, and damn was it catchy. But if you delved past the radio-prepared pop-synths and generic production you could find some more punky guitar riffs and darker tones. Despite this, I expected that The Naked And Famous would quickly become stale and overplayed, destined to a short stint of radio station brilliance before everyone got sick and tired of hearing their music. Yet somehow they never overstayed their welcome. So when I listened to the first single off their new album and felt the familiar twinge of the colorful synth-filled hook injecting happiness into my mind, I didn’t object.
“Hearts Like Ours” sounds like it could have come straight off Passive Me Aggressive You, which is both encouraging and slightly worrisome. Their sound has remained almost identical, so for fans of the first album this could be good news. However, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of development/progression present here. This is unfortunate, but not particularly surprising, as they had a winning solution with their first album and clearly didn’t feel the need to make many changes. “Hearts Like Ours” has a couple moments where the scratchy guitar riffs shine through and the video has enough close-up shots of solemn, determined faces to seem hip, but I can’t shake the feeling that something is missing. In the video you watch a wide array of people of different ages, genders, and ethnicities as they struggle, and even though you don’t see them together it’s easy to tell that they are connected. It’s tough to make sense of it all, but this surrealism works well with the dreamy pop-synths and euphoric melodies that build in the song. The vocals by Alisa Xayalith are youthful and uplifting, and after just a couple listens I already found myself singing along. I have no doubt that In Rolling Waves will be hugely successful worldwide and I am excited for this highly talented group of New Zealanders, but at the same time I am also interested to see if their LP will contain enough substance for me to keep listening to it after it the radio stations destroy its singles.