As a reviewer when you are given an album to review you just pray that you aren’t going to waste your time listening and sitting in front of your keyboard for hours trying to find the right words to put your thoughts across.
When it comes to a band that you haven’t really any background with, that job becomes even harder because you have no history to base your review on. Thankfully, ‘The Chronicles of Tim Powers’ by People on Vacation is one of those albums that just eases you into its groove where it demands that you listen intently and stick with it and never (on pain of death) skip a track.
Before I get I get into the meat and two veg of the review it should be said that this isn’t the regular type of band that would ordinarily be reviewed here on Scribes, but they do have something that defines them as a really great rock band, hopefully through this review we’ll work out together what it is.
The opening track “Don’t Ask the Question” is a smooth yet aggressive track to kick off the album, it sets the tone perfectly. It sets out its stall that the album and the band are not going to take any prisoners and you are along for the ride and you have approximately 15 seconds of track intro to get off the train before there is no way back.
“You May Not Believe in God” is the third track from the album and it’s a catchy hook laden beast that has more than enough humour to keep this in your head for weeks. In the best grand schemes of things, this would be a great summer record and would be all over the radio. It is a simple song that when the guys come over to tour, WILL have the audiences singing along.
There is no way you can argue that there isn’t light and shade on this album. Going from the humour of YMNBIG on to the next track “All I Ever Really Wanted”, a mournful lost love track, that could stand up against any other from the balladeers of the late 70’s. Just simple acoustic guitar and vocals for the most part of the song but yet again; another great song showcasing the bands great ability to throw the listener on an aural twist at the flip of a coin.
Track 7 on the album “She’s Not You” is one of those tracks that you can have a love hate relationship with for a variety of reasons. For me, I kind of love and hate it at the same time, it bears a very close resemblance to Radioactive by Imagine Dragons and that song was stuck in my head for ages (think of it as a permanent Ear Worm for two summers) and once I got rid of it I swore that I never wanted to hear it again. The love side of it is that the song, lyrically, is wonderful.
Lyrically the album is almost flawless. Even in its lightest moments and with humour the band have put together a deft and nuanced album that should sit up there with the best post-pop-rock-whatever albums ever. Forgetting the genre labels and just going by music standards alone, it works and the album should bring this band to a whole new audience. It has to me, and I am REALLY NOT its target audience. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album 4 times in the past 2 days, and will probably enjoy listening to it a couple more times in the next 2 or 3.