As the name implies, eclectic New York punk band Bomb the Music Industry! plays by its own rules. For instance, when Radiohead decided to give away its album In Rainbows with the “pay what you wish” model, Bomb the Music Industry! had already been doing just that for four years. And, unlike Radiohead, it continues to do so.
Musically, Bomb the Music Industry! has gained a reputation for being the kind of insane, spastic band to switch between such genres as pop-punk, ska, hardcore, electronica, and circus music, often within the confines of a single song. But on its sixth full-length, Vacation offers something different: not the mile-a-minute, shifty, “everything is shit” punk rock template that defines most of its earlier catalog. It is a much more restrained and subtle recording, both musically and lyrically.
In fact, the most notable difference on Vacation is the almost complete lack of ska, hardcore, and crazy synth parts. Instead, lead singer Jeff Rosenstock has focused on developing his songwriting chops. For instance, the opening track, “Campaign for a Better Next Weekend,” begins with a two-minute keyboard/vocal drone. “Sponge Board/Baby Waves” is a forty-second vocal-harmony-laden interlude. “Sick, Later” is the kind of song you might expect to hear on a Superchunk record. “The Shit That You Hate” is six-minute anthemic rock ballad.
Rosenstock also attempted to write lyrics from a more positive place, as opposed to his usual dark headspace. He sounds a lot less cynical than usual. Vacation is the kind of album that will appeal to the uninitiated, without sacrificing the band’s current fanbase. (Ernest Jenning)