Reviews Vacation Self Titled

Vacation

Self Titled

First off, forgive me if at some point I wander off and say something about Summer Vacation or Vacation Bible School, and I keep mixing these bands up in my head. Vacation is Cincinnati-based band that sometimes gets the pop-punk label, although I would argue garage-punk if I had to choose one. The band, while using pop-punk structures and a lot of harmonies and group vocals, piles layers of noise on top of that base, giving slightly greater focus to volume and energy than to harmonies or driving a chorus into your skull. Still, it’s a close balance that’s maybe 55-45 garage vs. pop. But, I’d rather just forget the genre discussion and talk about the record.

Sometimes when you put a record on, you can tell within the first few measures that it’s a keeper. Vacation did this to me. Starting track “Fake It,” has a high energy, relentless-yet-rhythmic feel that grabs me, with something about the mixture making me think of High Tension Wires. Numerous songs use this base: high energy guitar, singalong choruses, and defined breakdowns that set up those choruses, as in “Columbus Was Not a Hero” and “Talk with Yer Hands.” “Columbus Was Not a Hero” is one of the standouts, with an obviously political tone, but lyrically it’s subdued enough that it doesn’t overpower the music. You know that climactic moment in a song where you can just feel the band losing it, for a second after a carefully built-up 2-3 minutes? That pinnacle of frustration and release comprises 70% of this record, with bouncy positivity radiating through the music for the rest. The energy builds continuously with group vocals and it never lets up. In the “calmer” moments that focus on melody, I see shades of Marked Men and the Bananas. “Cellophane” and “Misbehavin’” bring the record to a close, with a dramatic ballad-esque tempo that brings closure to the record as a 1:50 slab of dirty pop that should close out sets and be played at bar close.

This comes highly recommended—just don’t put this record on if you plan to sit still.

8.7 / 10Loren
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8.7 / 10

8.7 / 10

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