First Listen

First Listen: Release The Sunbird, 'Come Back To Us'

Come Back to Us, the first album by Zach Rogue's new band Release the Sunbird, comes out July 26. i i

Come Back to Us, the first album by Zach Rogue's new band Release the Sunbird, comes out July 26. Andrew Paynter/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Andrew Paynter/Courtesy of the artist
Come Back to Us, the first album by Zach Rogue's new band Release the Sunbird, comes out July 26.

Come Back to Us, the first album by Zach Rogue's new band Release the Sunbird, comes out July 26.

Andrew Paynter/Courtesy of the artist

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High art and musical comfort food don't have to be mutually exclusive, but the latter doesn't get nearly enough credit on its own. A sighingly sunny pop record can be a day-brightener and a headache remedy rolled into one — no insignificant feat if you're the one with the bad day or the headache.

There's not a harsh note in the music of Release the Sunbird, an appropriately named side project led by Rogue Wave singer-songwriter Zach Rogue. But Come Back to Us, his new band's debut, never feels like wallpaper: For all its summery brightness, it remains as sweet as springtime, while still revealing subtle shades of autumnal melancholy.

Out July 26, Come Back to Us never sounds sweeter than when Rogue's voice intertwines with that of Kate Long in "Always Like the Son," a delicately plucked acoustic ballad that wafts through the record like a warm breeze. The song is a real tone-setter for an album best suited to long drives with the windows open. Out on the highway, the wind rushing in seems to whistle in harmony — and why wouldn't it?

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First Listen