Imagine that you’re on a cruise, destined to a tropical destination, drinking cocktails by the pool and taking sepia-style instagram pics of your extremely hip and sexy friends.   Philadelphia-based Vacationer sounds exactly like that.  Their debut album “Gone” is like a breath of fresh, seawater air.  Vacationer’s frontman and brainchild Kenny Vasoli creates an adventurous sound that combines vintage tones, dreamy soundscapes, and a dash of Caribbean flavour.  Straying from his previous pop-punk musical endeavors, Vasoli’s Vacationer is essentially a soul group caught up in an indie-rock genre.

Swim trunks?  Check.  Sunscreen?  Check.  Ray Bans?  Check!  It’s time to take a trip with Vacationer.

The album’s opener “Everyone Knows” starts off with a hypnotic keyboard progression and a magnetic drum groove, suggesting that this is a hip-hop group sampling a soul track from the ‘60’s – until the vocals kick in.  The harmony-soaked hook appropriately advocates, “we should cool off”, setting the vibe for the rest of the album.  A feel-good, mellow hip-hop sound dominates the next two tracks until “Dreamlike” takes you on an indie dance-rock adventure, sounding like Grizzly Bear stuck in a tropical jungle party with Ravi Shankar on sitar.  In the standout track “Summer End”, the dramatic verse, flanked with sweet midi-violin and feathered with light Sigur Ros-like loops, compliments the upbeat Beach Boys-ish chorus, while the four-on-the-floor rhythm of the kick drum keeps you dancing the whole time.

The middle of the album is less memorable.  The danceable tracks dissipate while a drowsy mist takes over.  The catchy melodies are also less frequent.  Songs such as “No Rules” and “Farther” seem to focus more on the ambient textures than the actual song itself.  However, where the middle of the album may be lacking sing-a-long choruses, this is also where beautiful harmonies, scenic layers, and drenched reverb take over, creating a drowsy yet dreamy ambiance – perfect for sipping your fruity cocktail by the pool.

With beautiful harmonies, a retro drum sound, and a solid bass tone – all infused with reverb, “Gone” has a vintage soundscape that deserve ones full attention.  Separating themselves from contemporary groups like Vampire Weekend and Beach House, Vacationer incorporates unconventional elements to the indie-rock genre, and they do it with confidence and ease.  Vacationer truly sounds like a band on… well, a permanent vacation

Phillips