I love surprises and thrive on the unexpected. I also love digging for new music for others to – errr – dig on. But to say that Vacationer caught me way off guard would be a pretty substantial understatement. Their brand new debut record Gone was released with modest fanfare on March 30th, but it was one of those albums that takes about 2 tracks worth of previews to know that it’s a no-brainer. It’s been in regular rotation since its release, but I had yet to really look into the background of the band. Suffice it to say, the last thing I was expecting to find was Kenny Vasoli manning the helm with two members of Brooklyn’s electro-pop outfit Body Language. Nevertheless, this was a pleasant surprise as Kenny’s “other” band, The Starting Line, put out some memorable pop punk records in the early Naughties, including the classic, “The Best of Me”, allowing me a few moments of sublime nostalgia. Alas, Vacationer is nothing like what we’re used to from Kenny Vasoli.
Vacationer’s ‘About’ page on Facebook describes Gone as follows: The eastern seaboard’s foremost relaxation specialists have teamed up to compile this unique collection of serenity-inducing sonic arrangements. The audio program you are about to experience was designed with the sole purpose of relaxing the listener and sending their mind on a well-deserved trip. No airfare needed, no reservations. Simply settle in, relax and enjoy; Vacation from anywhere at anytime.
Without a doubt this a pretty spot on description of what the record achieves, making my life a whole lot easier as one who regularly searches for words to describe such sonic arrangements. The record is heavy on laid back grooves, built upon a foundation of mellow samples and a healthy portion of vintage-vibe-inducing reverb. It without question delivers on the summertime vacation theme that Vasoli and company were seeking. With elements of surf, hip hop, and Vampire Weekend-esque indie, this is feel-good beach music at its finest.
Stand-out tracks on Gone include the dreamy hip-hop backdropped ‘Good As New’, the clappy, sitar-tinged ‘Dreamlike’, and the percussive closer ‘Be With You’ accented with touches of harp.
For those of you West Coasters and Midwesterners, check out Vacationer on tour with The Naked & Famous and Tennis. Dates here.
4 Stars – Mick
(Editor’s note: check out Vacationer’s website for a cool experience – go anywhere in the world – we definitely dig this.)