ROGUES Double Vision EP gets 7/10

Double Vision


Last year Perth four-piece Rogues introduced themselves with their first single Double Vision, offering a glimpse of their eerie neo-wave aesthetic. The follow up and coinciding video clip Shibuya used the same pallette but instead canvassed a more upbeat and modish illustration. Now in 2018, their debut EP Double Vision has arrived, and it not only connects the dots between the two tracks but places them in a well-considered thread, proactively incorporating adventurous new methods and synthetic tones without diluting a well-defined sound.

The instrumental opener Something Beautiful sets the scene for the release, with a ghostly synth swelling into focus over a robot-hearted rhythm section. As the filters retract they reveal more of a gritty and driving modular ensemble tugging the listener up to the heights for what follows. Vocalist Graeme White is reminiscent of Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal and demonstrates an impressive range throughout the release hitting high notes cleanly and calmly.  The group as a whole seems to embody many of the strains of artists cut from a similar cloth, from the twilight tinged synth pop of genre spearheads like Depeche Mode, New Order and expressly, anyone that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Donnie Darko soundtrack. Title-track Double Vision puts the bass in the engine room powering the song with pulsing rhythm. The song also features the EP’s most captivating moment of bravado with a searing guitar lick that sizzles into focus, albeit for a brief couple of moments.

But there are definitely new and more contemporary influences punctuating the release. There are shades of The Weeknd and even Daft Punk in certain moments, especially with a nuanced and textural use of autotune and the sheer prominence of the repetitive snare beat. On Dancer the synth tones swerve left and right like an F1 frontrunner with FKA Twigs’ tinted flickerbeats colouring the later phases of the track. The songs don’t feel lyrically dense but the themes of vision and finding direction seem to inform the narrative throughout the songs; “with you by my side – I see reality with fresh eyes,” and later; “tunnel vision makes you lose your way.”  Learn to Live illuminates the group’s synthetic disposition opting to use decaying delay effects on guitar chords, rather than strumming to compliment the rhythm. The final track Shibuya is the most immediately appealing, with a simple and prominent hook from the first moment guiding the final few minutes of the EP.

Rogues have shown they definitely have the tools to create great songs and the maturity to assemble them into a reasoned package on this EP. Producer Matt Gio at Rada Studios has evidently helped them define a sound with a catalogue of studio tricks and toys that added colour and texture,  but it will be interesting to see Rogues develop their sound to move further from the shade of their influences. For now, Double Vision is a rewarding listen that intrigues you for just what Rogues will put their hand to next.