Review Summary: Nothing groundbreaking, but a fun album to hold you over until your next "classic".
Strange Vacation is a new project consisting of members from The Boys of Summer and Mark Warren of That Was Something. Anyone who has heard The Boys of Summer may know them as another pop-punk band with the same four chord progression, 4/4 time signature, and overall compositions of songs that do little to separate themselves from the countless of other band within the genre. Unfortunately, Strange Vacation does little to offset the generic qualities of their former project with their debut LP Chasm. In fact, Chasm has obvious influences from pop-punk albums before it.
The first and most obvious example of this comes in the form of the vocals. Strange Vacation uses dual vocals in just about every song and it would be difficult to label one singer as the lead over the other as both play vital roles in the sonic appeal of the album. Fans of The Dangerous Summer will find great similarities between Scab and A.J. Perdomo, and if like me, will search online just to make sure that The Dangerous Summer had not secretly come out with a new album. For those who aren't fans of the rugged vocals that seem to be getting adopted by many bands nowadays, Jon-Paul Bakaric has ample mic time to impress you with his clean, though powerful voice which will be sure to remind some of Tom Delonge of Blink 182.
The instrumentation of the album is nothing special as it follows the generic structure mentioned in the beginning of the review and continues to draw inspiration from The Dangerous Summer; playing incredibly simple riffs that sound as if layered several times with a heavy use of delay. The instrumentation does have a little more variation than songs by The Dangerous Summer but there is an obvious drop off in talent when it comes to drummers of both bands. Other than the track "Lonely", the drummer does little to stand out in the album, but that is ok because he does a nice job of holding the instruments together and not being superfluous with his playing.
Though it wouldn't seem as if the band would be worth listening to from the description put forth so far, they do have redeeming qualities that make their album one of the most fun I’ve heard in the last year. This is definitely an upbeat and driven album that I can’t help but to sing along with. The melodies are insanely catchy and the emotion captured in the vocals doesn’t seem contrived or fake. The style of the lyrics seems to have a heavy dosage of The Dangerous Summer's influence in it as well, and just like The Dangerous Summer, they feel simple, yet honest.
Songs I would recommend checking out are: “Just Sing”, “Lonely”, “War In the Dark”
"just sing for the flag you wave
for the god you pray to
for the love you make
for the promises you’ll keep"