Cincinnati, Ohio’s Vacation formed in 2010 as a trio, quickly putting out a slew of tapes, singles, and LPs on various DIY labels, while spreading their infectious pop-inspired punk through shows around their native Midwest and tours throughout the rest of the country. As a pillar of the ever-fertile Cincinnati music scene they also share, or have shared, members with bands including Tweens, Black Planet, and Pretty Pretty.
Over the last two years the band had some lineup changes and expanded into a four-piece, with singer/co-songwriter Jerri Queen stepping out from behind the drum kit to play guitar. The band is rounded out by original member Evan Wolff on bass, Dylan McCartney on drums, and John Hoffman on second guitar. As a quartet, their live sound has gotten larger, their shows more intense, and their recordings more nuanced and eclectic.
Their new LP Non-Person features a diverse approach to the band’s signature noise-laden melodies, sing-along choruses, and punked-out pop riffs. The album is as indebted to the Ramones as it is to Jesus and Mary Chain, as melodic as ‘70s power pop and as fierce as ‘80s hardcore.
From the opening frenetic burst of “Heat” to the distortion heavy “Yin Yang Smile,” and from the new wave vibe of “The Effort” to the fuzzed out “What I Found,” the record maintains cohesion without ever dragging. Auxiliary organ, percussion, and acoustic guitars fill in any gaps that haven’t already been taken up by the guitar feedback that has become integral to the band’s sound. The lyrics touch upon themes such as self-decay (“Like Snow”), apathy (“All I think About (Myself)”), and escape (“I Wish I Could Be Someone Else”).