EP Review: Vacation Club ‘Self-titled’
Last year, Vacation Club hit Indianapolis’ underground music scene like a whirlwind. The band was seemingly everywhere, with lead singer Sam Thompson brandishing his signature squeal at local landmarks like The Melody Inn, Radio Radio and innumerable house shows on the band’s home turf of Fountain Square. Regardless the size of the audience or venue, Vacation Club offered listeners relentless energy paired with authentic rock n’ roll attitude.
Musical Family Tree author and fellow Indy musician Jon Rogers perhaps said it best last November, when he wrote: “…Vacation Club have got to be crazy. And not just “hearing voices” crazy. More like “hearing voices that tell you to stab mom while drinking shoe polish and eating cigarette butts and blasting Slayer at 5 AM” crazy. But somehow, it’s still what you’d call the good kind of crazy.” For ample evidence, check out the band’s travelogue of last year’s tour through the South in the form of their aptly titled Tumblr 2BROKE4DRUGS. (Warning: not safe for work)
After a pair of 7″ releases on local vinyl label GloryHole Records, Vacation Club was recently inked to Montevallo, Alabama’s Happenin Records. The label is set to release Vacation Club’s self-titled EP on cassette this week. The six-track release is currently available for download from VC’s Bandcamp page.
Any attempt to harness or tame Vacation Club’s sound would likely prove an ill-advised and hopeless venture. However, the band has successfully softened its edges on their debut EP, offering listeners a more accessible recording than any of their previous material. The album opens with “Daydream,” a track that showcases Jeb Lambert’s shimmering, echo-heavy riffs on guitar and Thompson’s helium-infused vocals. The bridge erupts in a cacophony of contrasting guitars, before collapsing into a glorious exchange of “oohs and aahs.”
From there, we plunge head-long into a stiff cocktail of sound that features a single shot of psychedelic surf rock, a double shot of punk, and a hefty splash of doo-wop, served noisily in a nearby garage. On the standout “Hold My Hand,” bassist Brandon Jackson walks out a bouncing bass line that serves as the backbone of my favorite Vacation Club track to date. Somewhere, many octaves above, Thompson croons, “I know it’s dark in the back of my mind / But I still seem to see right through / It’s hard to hold my hand when I’m high / But when I’m not, I do it for you.”
For Vacation Club, an exhaustive year spent honing their sound in Indianapolis’ nether-regions appears to be paying off. They are the first non-Alabama act added to Happenin Records’ roster. The band is currently on tour through the middle of August. Local readers can catch them at The Bishop Bar in Bloomington on September 24. Listen and download your copy of the Vacation Club EP below.
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Written by Rob Peoni