Vacationer - Mindset
It's been a long time since Kenny Vasoli's The Starting Line days. The pop punk outfit was my first introduction to the bassist and singer, and in 2002 they really cooked. As time went on though it was . clear that The Starting Line were not going to be the band that hung around for a long time after the emo and pop punk days blew by, but Kenny's new project Vacationer has real potential. This new album "Mindset" is like the band's name describes like a vacation from reality. The sounds are easy and smooth evoking a lighter more simple time of life. Things aren't all that complicated for Vasoli; there is "no time like free time and no time like now" as he says on "Euphoria". You feel like you've been transported to that permanent vacation when you listen to this music, not like it is coming from some kind of Island rhythm or or something that immediately screams "vacation", it's more of a general vibe. The problem is it leads to almost no conflict, no drama on the entire record. Everything feels easy and light without any negative energy floating around, but that sheen feels a bit false after awhile and it's not fun enough to really keep you interested. If these were bright fun pop songs that would be one thing, but the are bright easy songs instead. It's a shame to relegate Vacationer to background music, but it is really what they excel at the most. This is music that is interesting to hear behind something else, a tune to set a vibe but not one's to come back to over and over again.
The songs all eventually start to sound the same, this mix of hip hop production overtones and some bright samples floating in the background. The sampling is done at a really high level, you just wish there was some more edges to give this record some shape. As it is "Mindset" is comes across as one note, even if it isn't. The falsetto on "Turning" really exemplifies my issue with this record, because it is so light and so delicate that you are begging for some aggression, some angst, something to slip in other than how good things are going. It's frustratingly nice. Really th only time we get something slightly new than what Vacationer has done in the past is on "Romance" which at least pumps the tempo up a bit even if it is only a slight shift. It's not enough though to negate the boredom this album often induces, but it's never malicious or bad, it's just sort of boring. There are things to like about this record, but there is also far to much that feels too comfortable. Vacationer continues to be a good band, but they never cross over into a great band.
6.0 out of 10