"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read." - Frank Krappa

Friday, 26 November 2010

Review: 'Great Vacation!'? more like 'Great Albums!' (Oh I crack myself up...)

Sleeping in the Aviary, who I have written about at some length before, have a new album, Great Vacation!, out on November 30th. Due to me pre-ordering it immensely quickly and the people at the label (Science of Sound) being very nice, I received it a couple of days ago.

The first thing that struck me about the album was the giant increase in production value, unlike the last two it can't be described as lo-fi in any way, shape or form. It originally worried me that they might have lost the rough, roguish charm I loved them for, but luckily Sleeping in the Aviary aren't one of those awful bands whose only talent is being recorded terribly.

Musically, they've moved away from the Folk-Punk aesthetic of Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel and closer towards a softer, surfier one. There is still the odd distorted guitar, but sadly singer Elliot Kozel has generally refrained from screaming and there is nothing that even compares to Gas Mask Blues.

There are many genuinely great songs on Great Vacation!, some of my personal favorites being the immensely fun You Don't Have to Drive (which you can listen to here)Axes Ground Looth Tooth (in which the token girl, accordionist Celeste Heule, has a fantastic official lead vocal debut) and Last Kiss on a Sinking Ship, for which they made their first ever music video (which I really like) and combines a daft premise with touching lyrics about getting it awwn.

I must admit that I'm slightly upset about the lack of punky material, and I do think it has resulted in 2 or 3 dud songs, but I guess they have moved on creatively. There are some fantastic new things going on, such as the slide guitar on Maria's Ghost, the weird aesthetics of the softer sounding ballads (that they've borrowed from Elliot's brilliant side project she is so beautiful/she is so blonde) and also the Blondie-esque, falsettoed last track.

Another thing I would have liked is more songs sung by Celeste, her voice is really lovely and reminds me of whoever it is that sometimes sings with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. On this brilliant, freely downloadable thing (it includes earlier versions of some songs), I heard her singing the fantastic song Deep Sea, which really should have made it onto the album.

Anyway, despite my quibbles, I do like Great Vacation! quite a lot. I would have liked a repeat of the last album, but that would never of have happened and I would complain about their lack of innovation anyway. My love of EVIACH has made me judge Great Vacation! very harshly.

Great Vacation! is a solid effort, but if you only have £10 to spare, buy Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel right away.

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