In the crowded indie landscape, The Naked and Famous are quickly etching out a place for themselves with poignant lyrics, dream-like atmospheres and soaring choruses fit for joyous late-night drives. Borrowing from rock's most revered songwriters (Think Bowie doing dream pop) while blazing their own trail, the Kiwi five-some are shaping a touching, dense pop aesthetic that both pleases and challenges with their latest release, In Rolling Waves.
"It's been a long time since we've released any new material, we've had a major musical growth spurt on 'In Rolling Waves' and I feel fortunate enough that our audiences have grown alongside us too," said Alisa Xayalith on a recent tour stop in Australia.
With Passive Me, Aggressive You, the group's 2010 release, they embraced punk angst, pulsing beats and electronic flourishes to mold satisfying meditations on heartache and adolescent pangs. Their newest album dives deeper and aims higher with hypnotic synths and confident, big open-ended questions. Their intimate vocals and haunting tones have only been refined with time on the road.
"I was a little nervous going out on tour so soon after the release in September...I felt like people wouldn't have had enough time to connect and live with our sophomore effort long enough before hearing tracks live," said Xayalith. "However! I can say the nerves were quickly dashed to the wind and so far the response has been fantastic."
The group has found a perfect pairing with visual accompaniments from Special Problems (Joel Kefali and Campbell Hooper), who conjure the mysterious and dream-like sequences used to complement The Naked and Famous' tracks. The motifs include humming bees, drifting fog and provocative dance routines. "We've never said no to any of their treatments," said Xayalith, "they have always found incredible ways of amplifying and punctuating aspects of our songs into beautiful visuals."
The Naked and Famous will be playing The Forum on Feb. 14; they will also be playing a set at Coachella in April.
Check out their dreamy video for "Hearts Like Ours" below.