Review: People On Vacation – The Chronicles of Tim Powers

People on Vacation - The Chronicles of Tim PowersI’ve had this one sat in the review pile for some time, but with the release date being put back (it’ll be out on February 2nd, at last!) I put it on the back burner. But that date is now nigh so I shall unleash the words…

People on Vacation aren’t a metal band, but they’re definitely rock’n’roll with a proven track record. From humble beginnings as a simple acoustic two-piece, they’ve beefed the sound up and rattled off an impressive number of original tunes over the years. They also involve fans to a ridiculous degree, to the point where the album is named after one particularly generous fan who donated to their crowd funding.

The songs throughout the album are quite personal in nature and written during a pretty bleak time for Reddick and Hamilton. As such, the subject matter is quite deep and reflective. Despite this, many of the tracks are quite bouncy and catchy rather than morose and depressing. Think of the way Bowling For Soup (yes, the inevitable comparison) would do a break-up song, or a track about a stalker ex-girlfriend.

It’s hard to pinpoint an overall tone or style for the album. A huge part of me is thinking classic rock and roll, with an inevitable pop/punk twist. The Texas origins come through as a sprinkling of country here and there. Every track is a toe-tapper and many of them have the kind of chorus that would be great with a crowd throwing the words back at the band. “I’ve Got Your Back” has everything – backing vocals and “Ooooooh”‘s that the audience can claim for their own, a hands-over-the-head clapping rhythm and a wave-your-arms-slowly bridge.

“You May Not Believe In God” was the choice of lead single and it’s a corker. It’s got the kind of intro that hooks you right away and doesn’t let go. Indeed, many songs on the album have wonderfully catchy rhythms which are perfectly suited to gigs or playing in the car… perhaps on the way to a gig. “Punk Rock World” is a nice trip into alternative / indie territory with the crunchy chorus reminding me more than a bit of early Everclear.

The guys can also throw out an acoustic ballad as tear-jerking as anyone you’d care to name. “All I Ever Really Wanted” and “Journey to the End” are testament to that fact, though the tracks couldn’t sound any less similar. And talk about a mixed message – songs like “I Might Change My Mind” sound so upbeat and bouncy until you listen to the lyrics… “I don’t think that we should be together any more.”

Chronicles is a great album. Full of songs that you don’t just need to listen to, but really need to pay attention to. The lyrics are ever bit as good as the rhythms and melodies. Not a duffer out of the eleven track on offer. Very much looking forward to hearing all the new material live next month as well!

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