bracelet + shoes / Francis Floor
photographer / Jonas Jacob Svensson
story / Adeline Tan
location / Debaser Medis
You may recall The Naked and Famous for their MGMT-aping hit “Young Blood” from back in 2011. Its yowling “yeah, yeahs” snuck into the promos for British teen drama Skins, where it provided a soundtrack to rebellious jaunts, sexy times and extreme teen angst. The Auckland band’s new album continues this expressive sync-department fantasy, unearthing more of the dark side of electro with Numan-nodding metallic synths, massive stadium filling power chords and sentimental vocals. They formed in 2008 when Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith recorded EPs THIS MACHINE and NO LIGHT with engineer Aaron Short, a fellow student at Auckland’s MAINZ music college. The band took their name from a line in the English artist Tricky’s song “Tricky Kid”, “everybody wants to be naked and famous.”
Fronted by Alisa Xayalith (vocals/keyboards) and Thom Powers (guitar/vocals), The Naked and Famous, who originally lit a fire under an online fan base, with a video subculture manufactured through YouTube and into radio, return with a beautiful follow up that is sure to satisfy current fans and earn them a multitude of new ones when the band commenced their North American tour in late September before heading to Europe and arriving
in the UK late November. The band started out by recording in their bedrooms in New Zealand to playing sold out shows worldwide.
The growth curve experienced by The Naked and Famous after their debut album was a steep one. For most bands, the slow burn of accomplishment is the objective, to establish a steady fan base and perhaps one day think about international recognition. It’s not so with these New Zealanders, three years after The Naked and Famous debuted with PASSIVE ME, AGGRESSIVE YOU, they’re back with their follow-up, In ROLLING WAVES, already loaded with expectations.
After two years of near-constant touring, the New Zealand five-piece set up base in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles to begin work on the 12-track album. The resulting album, IN ROLLING WAVES, produced by Powers and Short, along with Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Beck, Nine Inch Nails) with co-production on two tracks, delivers forebodingly nuanced, intricately rocking electro nuggets once again developed in bedroom studio sessions, then demoed their tracks in studios in both Wales and Australia before recording at Sunset Sound in Hollywood. Their pop-rock noir is at its best on end-of-the-night anthems such as “Hearts Like Our”s and the fittingly crashing “Rolling Waves.