Just how big is a candy wave? For Cincinnati trio Vacation, it’s unfathomable. The ample sense of space is evidenced by the traveling trio’s thrashing second release Candy Waves, which swallows the listener whole in a mess of Technicolor punk and busty noise pop hooks.
Vacation pick at punk and surf rhythms, but Candy Waves is skittering noise pop shed of any pretenses. Lyrics aren’t muddled in metaphors or abstractions, but are rather self-depreciating and attuned to the immediacy of the fever-dream drums throttles. Choruses are as simple as “far away” on the banger “SFA” to “You’ve got what I need” on distortion-sunken opener “Pyro Hippies”. It’s as to-the-point as songwriting can be, but it strays close to being slightly muddled by the tsunami-sized distortion, as on “Candy Waves”, which begins with a room-bursting “happiness” that’s soon submerged in feedback.
The album’s greatest asset is its attunement to rhythm; it crests and tides like a wave. The demented surf rock riffs of “Straight to My Head” are a high water mark for Candy Waves, as is the radiant “Everybody Loves the Sun” and the mosh-pit-inducing “SFA”. Candy Waves boasts banger after banger, smoothed out from urgent screeches and moving to the reverb-steeped instrumental “Intstro” right after.
“Make a Mess” could be an homage to Peter Hook-era Joy Division, with the hollow bottle echo of a commanding bass. It’s the secret weapon of choice for a band that’s soon to command an ever-increasing sphere of searing punk bands. For now, Candy Waves envelops you completely like a fast summer love, a shoreline drive, and the promise of another party until sundown.
Essential Tracks: “Make a Mess”, “Everybody Loves the Sun,” and “SFA”