Review : Bomb the Music Industry! - Vacation
SputnikmusicThere have been some interesting arguments online about whether or not Bomb The Music Industry! are an “important” band. Some have legitimate reasons for thinking this – Jeff's DIY mentality comes to mind – but sometimes it's just the big BTMI! fanboys gushing without backing up their argument. There is a difference between a band being important for cultural reasons and a band being important because they are important to a lot of people. I would argue that there is at least a degree of importance to the band, not necessarily musically, but because of the general lyrical atmosphere. There probably hasn't been anyone more successful than Jeff Rosenstock at capturing the general spirit of being immature-bordering-on-mature, of being unsatisfied while at the same time being aware of how much of an asshole you are for not being satisfied.
In and of itself, that's not important. What's important is that someone has described the mentality of young people without pandering to them and without resorting to writing stupid love songs or songs about heartbreak, both of which have been relatively absent from the band's discography. Bands who write only those sorts of songs aren't writing with any form of sincerity. They do it because they think that's what they have to do in order to have fans that can relate to them. You can't really blame a band for doing something like that; it's the easy path, and Rosenstock's alternative is hard. In writing songs like he does, you can never truly be certain that people will respond positively, even though logic says that many other people have been in the exact same situations. It requires a leap of faith, one that Rosenstock has made again and again. And pairing those lyrics with a sometimes abrasive, always spastic brand of punk requires a second leap of faith, because the message can so easily get lost in translation.
Vacation switches things up. It's the first truly different thing they've done. They've branched out from the usual ska-influenced punk, and it stands to reason that this is the album that will test their mettle as a band. While Rosenstock's lyrics have always been a strong point, how much of that had to do with the interplay between his voice and the music? Before Vacation, I would have said “not much.” But now I'm not sure. Vacation is their first “rock record,” and it does sound as if something's missing. The punch is gone from their music. I think if they make another album like this they can iron out the kinks and make a classic because the songs are there but the X-factor isn't. “Savers” is probably the best example of this. A mid-tempo song that plods along for two minutes too long, it really only picks up for the last minute or so, when a second guitar comes in along with an unexpected, pleasantly surprising violin. It's the typical BTMI! formula – add elements gradually until the song explodes – but it's exacted through typical rock instrumentation and the result is boring....full text
MycarandmyguitarLast time I reviewed a Bomb the Music Industry! record, it began with the question as to whether or not band leader Jeff Rosenstock was depressed. And then he posted that review on the band’s official website, so I may not have been too off the mark. But most of Vacation was written while Rosenstock was hanging out on the beach during a free trip to Belize. And both musically and lyrically, that totally comes through in the album. Rosenstock (and others) are calling it “beach punk,” and that’s pretty accurate – there are sunny, summer-y sounds everywhere here, but it’s still very distinctly punk rock, and very clearly a Bomb the Music Industry! album.
All the classic BTMI! elements are here, even though album opener “Campaign For A Better Next Weekend,” with its booming drums and fade-out gang vocals sets a much different tone than previous efforts. “Savers” is reminiscent of past material, and while it may be a bit more subdued, the distorted bass recalls Rosenstock’s side project Kudrow, and the frenetic, discordant guitar solos have been a staple of Bomb The Music Industry! albums from the very beginning. However, the main element tying this to previous albums would be Rosenstock’s signature pained vocals. His voice isn’t getting any better, but it seems he’s making up for it by singing clean more on this record, which works out great: It fits the style of the record more, and simply SOUNDS a lot better. He even acknowledges his shortcomings in the chorus of “Vocal Coach” – but nobody’s listening to a BTMI! album expecting Freddie Mercury anyway.
The lyrics of this album are a LOT more positive than they’ve been before – even though his neuroses are still on full display, he’s spouting new, less miserable credos – “Nothing’s forever, dude!” (“Vocal Coach”) and “Sorrow don’t answer problems” (“The Shit That You Hate”) and reveling in the joys of “Cheap Girls records and Instant Netflix” (“Hurricane Waves”). And “Why, Oh Why, Oh Why (Oh Oh Oh Oh)” is the most danceable spiteful kiss-off to an ex so far this year. But you’re not reading this review to read all the little things I like about this album (the noodling guitar during the verses of “Hurricane Waves,” the abrupt ending to “Everybody That Loves You,” the fact that “Sponge Board / Baby Waves” sounds like it could have been on Pet Sounds…). There are just a whole lot of things I like about this album. My only complaints are that “The Shit That You Hate” drags on a bit too long, and is a bit too reminiscent of “$2,400,000″ (from the band’s last full-length, Scrambles); and that “Campaign For A Better Next Weekend” starts off pretty slow, and new fans would probably be turned off by the long, quiet intro....full text
MuzikdizcoveryIs there any band out there quite like Bomb the Music Industry? For years the ska-punk collective, led by the ever eccentric Jeff Rosenstock has been tearing up conventions one messy, chaotic song at a time. The group has been so frenetic, so disorganized, that it’s quite shocking to think that they’re easily one of the most consistent acts in music today. From their debut, Album Minus Band in 2005, to last year’s two EP’s, Bomb the Music Industry has astounded with each and every release. Well music lovers, BTMI! have done it again, as Vacation is not only one of their strongest releases thus far, but one of 2011’s defining records.
It’s sort of difficult to ascertain what makes Vacation such a joy to listen to. Mainly, however, it’s the plain and simple fact that Bomb the Music Industry are still the same unpredictable, loveable group of rag tags that erupted onto the scene those short years ago. Although somewhat more contained, the unbelievably palpable energy that’s defined the band is here, and is wonderful as always.
Leading said group is Jeff Rosenstock, the proclaimed genius behind the rather massive group. Vocally, he’s a pretty charismatic guy, crooning, hollering, and shouting with a smoky, raspy voice that just commands to be listened to. There’s enough vocal variation here to really impress any listener, and when paired with the quirky, likeable lyrics, this aspect of the album is a clear knockout. At times the whole thing seems rather personal, while other times it seems like he’s just messing around for the sake of messing around, and really, it makes for one hell of a good time.
The rest of the band just seems to be having one hell of a time as well, with guitars, percussion, strings, and brass all coalescing into one maddeningly frenetic mess—a glorious mess mind you. However, as stated earlier, Vacation is much more stripped down, felling more laidback then, for example, 2006’s Goodbye Cool World. Rest assured, the whole package sounds phenomenal, as the more lax nature just fits so damn well. The hooks still entice, the energy is still there, and everything still sounds pitch perfect. This is everything a Bomb the Music Industry! Album should be; a fun, catchy, and engaging album, worthy of being played to tethers....full text
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