"Rogue Traders are back, stronger and harder! It's a wake-up
call!" So says James Ash of 'Calling All Lovers' the first track
off new album Better In The Dark. And he's not wrong.
'Better In The Dark' is the third, much anticipated, album from
Rogue Traders. Building on the foundations laid by their
4xplatinum second album, 'Here Come The Drums', this is a
more exciting and adventurous record, encompassing big
guitar riffs, orchestral arrangements, fast energetic punk,
futuristic grooves and songs that are "Kylie meets Trent
Reznor on a good day!"|
Certainly, the amount of time the Rogues spent promoting 'Here Come The Drums' and touring on the back of that album's success has had its influence - for the last two years, "the Roguies" have been on the road around the world, and on one UK tour alone, they played to 150,000 fans. As a result, they've toughened up into a formidable live act - and it shows! "This is a record to play in stadiums," James says. "We're a pop band - but we go further, and sound more contemporary, than most pop bands. We rock harder and we have a stronger electronic background. We're more of a band now, whereas the first album was a studio record. It's a more collaborative effort with more of a 'live' feel to it. The guitars are up front, the drums are live, and there are no samples this time around. The overall sound is brighter, stronger and more immediate. The songs are given more room to be what they are."
At the same time, Rogue Traders have shapeshifted to new colours. "We didn't want to repeat ourselves," explains James. "We have a sound that is ours, and we had to be mindful we didn't lose any of our fans. So for us, 'Better In The Dark' is about growth, not reinvention."
Many of the tracks are also built upon singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte's vampish onstage presence. Since the release of 'Here Come The Drums', Natalie has grown into a formidable performer and singer, enthralling and exhilarating fans at the band's live shows. "The audience is so vibrant and they feed you as much as you feed them," Natalie exclaims. "The fans get dressed up in my costumes, which adds to the whole fun element of the show."
Natalie became part of the songwriting process on 'Better In The Dark', writing on many of the songs with James and his wife Melinda. "We'd sit in a room and throw ideas around," Natalie recalls. "It was interesting that all three of us instinctively knew when we had a great idea." Natalie has allowed them to cast a wider net in the scope of their songs, and her background in theatre has injected more colour, darkness and movement into the music. Two of the songs even have orchestral strings!
"Many of the songs on the new album seem to be about being in nightclubs," laughs James Ash, co-founder, keyboard player, producer and major songwriter of the Rogue Traders. "I didn't realise that until we finished recording it. But the album's title 'Better In The Dark' certainly seems to fit that nightclub theme."
With the release of 'Better In The Dark', Rogue Traders are aiming to build on the global success of 'Here Come The Drums'. Released in 2005, 'Here Come The Drums' sold 4 x platinum (300 000 copies) in Australia alone, and spent over 80 weeks in the ARIA top 100. The album scored Rogue Traders four ARIA Award nominations and spawned five top 10 airplay hits - 'Voodoo Child', 'Way To Go!', 'Watching You', 'We're Coming Home' and `'In Love Again'. 'Voodoo Child' debuted at #3 on the UK charts, where it stayed for five weeks, and is currently building in momentum in the US. In late 2007, Rogue Traders will tour the US, before returning to the UK and Australia.