The Vacation | The Vacation (American)

The Vacation’s self-titled debut, a re-mastered, re-sequenced version of last year’s Band From World War Zero, is a breath not of fresh air, but of dank air soaked in cigarette smoke and spilled beer, pure rock ’n’ roll raunch for the new century.

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The Vacation have all the makings of the “next big thing,” another in a long line of bands hailed by the press as the new saviors of rock ’n’ roll. The band’s founding members are twin brothers, singer Ben Tegel and guitarist Steve Tegel. They hail from the suburban steel-mill town of Granite City, Ill., opening up countless possible rock-related puns. The tastemaker British press has been quick to fellate the band, NME going so far as to compare them to “the boozy cockiness of Keith Richards, or Iggy Pop slapping his meaty cock across Marc Bolan’s pasty face”—easily the greatest musical comparison this writer has ever read. The band even managed to wow über-producer and possessor of great taste Rick Rubin, who re-mastered the band’s major label debut. There’s one big difference, however, between the Vacation and every other band to receive such universal praise from the music press.

The Vacation deserves it. Every last goddamn word of it.

The Vacation’s self-titled debut, a re-mastered, re-sequenced version of last year’s Band From World War Zero, is a breath not of fresh air, but of dank air soaked in cigarette smoke and spilled beer, pure rock ’n’ roll raunch for the new century. The Vacation have many touchstones in common with their modern garage rockin’ peers like the Vines or Jet, with a healthy love for the Stooges, T. Rex, and Nirvana. But while this often comes off as hipster-pleasing game of name-that-influence in the hands of lesser bands, the Vacation’s music comes by its style more organically. These are the kind of guys who like Nirvana not because Kurt Cobain’s lyrics spoke to them, but because he could rock the fuck out on a guitar.

The album kickstarts with “White Noise,” fueled by a strutting AC/DC-style guitar riff as Denny Weston’s drums crackle with energy, hits overdrive for the song’s chanted chorus, and rarely lets up for the rest of the album. The band careens between lightspeed punker rave-ups (“I’m No Good,” the blistering Hives-style rocker “Make Up Your Mind”), sauntering glam-inspired grooves (“Cherry Cola,” “Hollywood Forever”), and the fertile ground between the two (the BRMC-inspired “Trash”), dancing the line between metal and punk with the same abandon as early Guns N’ Roses. Also like Gn’R, there’s a sense of classic rock ’n’ roll danger present here that’s absent in, say, the Strokes. The jeopardy is only enhanced by Ben Tegel’s increasingly infamous self-mutilating stage antics and a love of classic rock forms that’s not drenched in Darkness-style irony.

The album isn’t quite flawless from beginning to end—the band’s quasi-anthem “Destitute Prostitutes” is irritatingly repetitive, and “Liquid Lunch” suffers from some cheesy lyrics—but the album as a whole doesn’t suffer from its few low points. This is no-frills rock at its finest, a phenomenal debut from a band already making huge waves and destined to make more.

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