Don Giovanni Records has had a good go of things lately, especially with the work of Screaming Females on their roster. But, new boys Vacation aim to make their own mark with Candy Waves. It provides listeners with sharp guitar lines and catchy hooks, while managing to sound appropriately unpolished.
Feedback opens the doors to Candy Waves with “Pyro Hippies” opening moments before the furiously quick drumming assaults your ears. Here you’ll find the guitar chords knifing their way through the song, and the vocals border on angst, yet still retain a bit of melody. Yet moments later, the bubbly bass work on “Make a Mess” is what grabs you by the ears and pulls you within the depths of the record. This tune has less detail oriented guitar work, but the rhythm section surely offers enough to get your toes tapping and your body jumping about. I want to attach myself to the vocals on this tune, yet they’re just a bit too far below the mix.
For my two cents, the band excels when they offer their pop affinity in their music. “SFA” jumps right into your meat and potatoes punk rock, though spun through a sludgy blender. The vocals offer a glimpse at anthemic moments, while the apparent allegiance to Vacation‘s metal influence is also visible. It opens the way for the hook-laden “Candy Waves,” which might be the record’s standout tune. Again, I think the lyrics could break through if they had just a hint more clarity in the mastering, but you can tell that this is a tune built for fans to join in during live performances. You don’t think the band can share pop sensibility with their metal/punk pedigree? Just start listening at 1.36. They make it three brilliant songs in a row with “Everyone Loves the Sun,” again establishing a gritty beach party feel. This song excels due to the fact that every instrument, including voice, seems to be pulling in an opposite direction, while still maintaining a healthy balance that unites the tune.
Concluding Candy Waves is another of the record’s standouts, “Horny Politicians.” Yes, the killer rhythm section comes through again to give a good push on the final tune, but I think it’s the vocal that allows this number to rise above the rest. There’s clarity throughout the entirety of the song; this allows listeners to really partake in the joy of the song. It’s the perfect closing moment, allowing us to glimpse Vacation at their very best, and perhaps a possible look into their future. And in the end, the record ends with a bang, but you’ll go right back to the beginning to play it all over again. You’ll get the feeling we all had when bands like Wavves felt dangerous, and you’ll be thankful bands like this are still doing it right.