Bomb the Music Industry!
Vacation


4.0
excellent

Review

by Knott- EMERITUS
July 26th, 2011 | 143 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Compromise.

Bomb The Music Industry! have never been a band to do things by halves. They are, by their nature and in a word, adamant. This doesn't mean they've ever been entirely sure of anything - you can see in the chaotic hotch-potch of musical ideas they cram into their hooks that impulse takes over more than on occasion, and those impulses are messy, overwhelming and usually incredible to behold. But 'adamant' here is a word that describes a passion - the facial expression, if you will, of the music they play. Even when vocalist Jeff Rosenstock was the voice of moderation, in songs like '(Shut) Up The Punx!!!' from 2009's superb Scrambles, he was loud and unrelenting, in control but utterly convinced of himself. The rest of the band were similarly unrestrained.

Vacation starts unusually in that its opening track 'Campaign For A Better Weekend' sounds like a song. Not that BTMI! don't write those all the time, but the point I'm trying to make is that it's not the kind of song - at least for its first half - which knocks you back and immerses you. It begins with a lonely piano and, honestly, takes a while to get going. Eventually, the track bursts into real, energetic life, with gang vocals and liberated guitars all over the place, and Vacation's in full swing. But this opening track's trade-off mirrors the album in one crucial way: it feels, in many regards, like a compromise.

Not that I mean 'compromise' in the sense of the negative connotations often attached to the term; this isn't BTMI! selling out, as, well, any fan of the band will have been able to tell you before Vacation was even announced. There are certain artists in the world that you can rely on and trust to deliver a certain type of product - they range from the predictably bland to the predictably mindblowing. BTMI! are a band that sit in the dictionary under 'energetic' and 'mental' and 'surprisingly sincere'; these things, they will always do, and Vacation is no exception to any of those rules. 'Hurricane Waves' sees them explode into a rumbling bassline and handclaps amid screams of "You get yourself a bottle and say, 'I don't do anything any more!'" and that moment, along with many more of equal or elevated brilliance here, yells BTMI! as soon as you hear it.

But there are also moments that don't, and with BTMI! unfortunately that's a far more jarring experience than with most bands, because a BTMI! song doesn't imply a sound like with most bands, it implies a feeling, and on Vacation there are a few instants that feel slightly too thought-out and sit slightly too neatly alongside other more visceral passages for it to remain truly immersive over its entire runtime. A good way of stating the limiting factor of Vacation is that sometimes Rosenstock feels like he's singing things he's at some point written down. I'm not about to imply that BTMI!'s back catalogue was vocally improvised, but it rarely sounds on Vacation as if he's totally lost in the music and the moment.

Vacation largely concerns itself topically with fighting past all the things that stop you from understanding where you are. The aforementioned line about getting yourself a bottle and admitting home truths is part of this, but 'Can't Complain' is a better example still of how Rosenstock approaches a balancing act. The balancing act between pop and punk, between recording and playing, between planning and winging it, is excellently executed here, but the failure to fully commit at select points holds Vacation back from being astounding and means that compromise, weirdly, is the right word across the board. It would be wrong to call Vacation an absolute masterpiece; it would be just as wrong to call it simply good. It's a superbly fun and heartfelt piece of music. It just sucks that adjectives suffice.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
July 26th 2011


10222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I enjoyed writing this review.

Blackbelt54
July 26th 2011


4281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review, even though I disagree at parts

wabbit
July 26th 2011


7059 Comments


the last line is so good.


If Adam Thomas likes this it is objectively good...then I'll listen to it.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2011


56813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Campaign For A Better Weekend is too good

Digging: Me in Capris - For Those Who Think You

Athom
Emeritus
July 26th 2011


17242 Comments


Scrambles and To Leave or Die in Long Island are better. Still a cool CD

kris.
July 26th 2011


15192 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i was gonna try and write a review of this because i'm so completely infatuated with it but idk i keep judging myself

mallen-
July 26th 2011


1241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is a really great album, but I can't ever see myself liking this better than Scrambles or Goodbye Cool World. Not sloppy enough.

wabbit
July 26th 2011


7059 Comments


I'm the only person who likes To Leave Or Die In Long Island the most

Blackbelt54
July 26th 2011


4281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Syke, Life is Awesome might be my favorite BtMI! song, but I like this, Scrambles, and Goodbye Cool World a little better

Drsmith4
July 26th 2011


1753 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"It just sucks that adjectives suffice."



Total respect points. Superbly written review for a superbly summery record.

Aids
July 26th 2011


24459 Comments


is this the best starting place for this band?

mallen-
July 26th 2011


1241 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

get Scrambles

Ire
July 26th 2011


41945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i was gonna try and write a review of this because i'm so completely infatuated with it but idk i keep judging myself




would neg so hard

Satellite
July 26th 2011


25867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is honestly not a bad starting point aids. i'd say the average listener is way less likely to hate this than their other albums.



good review. knott.

Satellite
July 26th 2011


25867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the lack of laura stevenson is the ONLY thing wrong with this album.



(yeah, i'm pretty much abandoning any pretense of objectivity when it comes to this band)

Ire
July 26th 2011


41945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the lack of laura stevenson is the ONLY thing wrong with this album.




def

Aids
July 27th 2011


24459 Comments


oh shit Chan's rating is up a bit

yeah I think I'll start with this and work backwards if I like it. Thanks guys.

Aids
July 27th 2011


24459 Comments


and I'll check that song out too chan, someone showed me Stand There Until You're Sober and I didn't like it at first but by the end of the track I was so into it, and that's from like their second LP I think.

Ire
July 27th 2011


41945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think you should try adults! first



has a laura/jeff duet

lessthan3

Satellite
July 27th 2011


25867 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the re-recorded versions of the 3 songs that came out forever ago fucking rule, especially can't complain



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