Leaving Rouge--White Houses
Rob Levy
10/10/2004 8:49:13 PM

Leaving Rouge
White Houses (EP) (Greyday Productions)

Leaving Rouge may be one of the most interesting bands that you will hear about in the next few months. Their sprawling soundscapes, rich textures and crafted atmosphercs have gained them a great deal of attention from both the indie press and college radio.

Formed initially as a studio project between vocalist Sean Hoen and drummer Josh Machniak, the duo released the acclaimed Collected Songs in 2002. Their desire to take the band to the next level culminated with the addition of 2 new members, bassist John Vogel and pianist/vocalist Karl Buzewski.

Now a full-fledged band, Leaving Rouge has just released a new EP, White Houses (Greyday Productions). With this release, the Detroit foursome has made the remarkable leap from being a new band with unlimited potential to a solid band with a polished understanding of where they want to be. “Lion’s Bridge” opens the record with sprawling guitars that build and expand into Hoen’s vocals. “In Your Twilight” is a majestic number that merges both swirling and tightly fitting guitars. Hoen’s vocals at times have an almost Disintegration-era Cure feel to them. Fortunately the song grinds on, rolls up its sleeves and becomes grittier. “Like Rome “ is the real treasure here. It takes a barren and desolate intro and zips it into with driving electric guitars that are nicely slipped between some piano and percussion. Then the vocals kick in and roll around in the melody, creating a grimy, perfect amalgamation of indie noise and pop fragility. Leaving Rouge channels all of their starkness, releasing it in one shot with the closing epic “Raise Your Love”, which sounds like the best moments of the Red House Painters mixed with the guitars and atmosphere of Galaxie 500.

In simplistic terms, Leaving Rouge are an amazing band with a big future ahead of them. They twist atmospheric melodies and distorted guitars into a cocoon filled with Voen’s rich vocals. Leaving Rouge is a band that does all the right things. Sonically, they rise, fall, twist, contort, spiral and then contract with breathtakingly perfect symmetry.

White Houses is an auspicious, well-constructed introduction by a terrific band with nothing but open road ahead of them

Leaving Rouge recently began recording their next long player. They also contributed a song to Deep Elm’s latest compilation; This Is Indie Rock, due out later this year.


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