July 26, 2011 - Really
This review originally ran in AP 278.
“The shit that you hate don’t make you special,” Bomb The Music Industry! braintrust Jeff Rosenstock howls at the climax of “The Shit That You Hate,” a six-minute drunken waltz loaded with harmonica, guitar squalls and violin crescendos. According to the record’s press materials, this is BTMI!’s “optimistic” record, but it seems like optimism has been confused with a surprisingly melancholy sense of pragmatism. On Vacation, the band successfully channel Phil Spector (“Why, Oh Why, Oh Why (Oh Oh Oh Oh)”) and early Weezer (“Savers”), give their best take on Beach Boys-esque surf-pop (“Vocal Coach”) and get by with a little help from their friends (Fake Problems’ Casey Lee adds tasteful pedal steel to “Can’t Complain”), but it’s all incidental to Rosenstock’s compelling narratives about the increasing challenge of growing older without succumbing to cynicism. “All the people I love the best have grown increasingly impatient with the person I am,” he sings on “Everybody That You Love,” “and some people I hardly know will never understand.” We’re all closer to comprehending, thanks to this absolutely brilliant piece of modern musical art.