Review: People On Vacation, ‘The Chronicles Of Tim Powers’
It’s an intriguing process listening to a band for the first time ever. The little details you’re used to hearing aren’t there and the voices are drastically different. Maybe they draw influences from a genre you’re not so keen to (ie. Country). It’s a gamble: maybe you’ll love it, or maybe you won’t. In that way, it’s almost a blessing to listen to a totally new band cause you have literally zero expectations going into it. None! And boy, did People on Vacation (POV for short) make a quick impression.
Their sophomore album ‘The Chronicles of Tim Powers’ comes 3 years after the well-crafted indie rock debut of ‘The Summer and the Fall’. The naming of the record is a cool story in itself: POV used a crowdfunding site called PledgeMusic to help with the recordings, and a lucky backer named Tim Powers was chosen as the namesake for the record! Also noteworthy is how the album has gotten pushed back not once, but twice. As far as the music itself, it hugs the border between pop punk and indie rock, with excellent production and mildly personal lyrics (some about love) embellished throughout.
The comparisons and influences to Patent Pending are pretty immediate; lighthearted indie rock with personal lyrics and near-perfect melodies, especially on All I Ever Wanted and She’s Not You. But let it be known that POV are their own brand of songwriters and more importantly, storytellers. Clearly the years of composing music and being in successful bands prior helped create POV’s own unique song structure: Reddick brings the hooks and power chords while Hamilton brings the indie side that really shuffles things up. It also helps when both members have equally strong vocals and can harmonize to a t. This all woven together creates a charming listening experience that almost feels like a novelty.
Musically simplistic and lyric- err- story driven; POV aims to “tell a story” with their lyrics and while (most) are about love and relationships, you can definitely start to hear a sense of a story forming amongst the tracks. After the first few listens, I wouldn’t consider ‘Chronicles’ to be a full concept album. But certainly some (see All I Ever Really Wanted -> We All Want What We Can’t Have -> I Might Change My Mind) are concerned with very similar topics and show continuity within the record. One particular curveball is You May Not Believe In God, chosen quaintly as the official single. It is the catchiest song on the record after all, with (obvious) lyrics about religion. Still not into the track, but I can definitely respect the effort.
My personal favorite is We Shoulda Made It. I am curious to learn what the influences and reasons for this song are, whether it be about a band or a relationship. Maybe we’ll all find the answer to that in a future 36v feature…
‘The Chronicles of Tim Powers’ is a record that was purposely made so that when you listen to it, you feel as if you’re a person on vacation. Laid back enough for relaxation but also poignant enough to pique even the craziest of interests. Unfortunately, some of the songs fail to make their mark solo due to the use of very similar chord patterns and vocal melodies. As a result, a portion of the album struggles to find solid ground. But when the songs are good, they’re great, I just wish there was more differentiation between them. All that combined with an underwhelming single makes for a decent album that is really searching for a wow factor. Props to POV for their tried and true method of song composition, but the execution suffers slightly when you have 11 songs on an album.
The coolest thing about joining the 36vultures team is being exposed to all kinds of music, some of which I’d never ever hear of otherwise. And now here I am, writing my first assigned review on a band I had zero clue existed just a month ago. People on Vacation’s newest record might not be a favorite of mine, but I can for sure see myself recommending it to friends and keeping a few tracks in my memory banks. 3.5/5
RIYL: Patent Pending, The Yellow Team, indie-fueled pop punk
Definitely check out: She’s Not You, I’ve Got Your Back, We Shoulda Made It