Emerging nearly four years after their sophomore album “Forever in Bloom,” the indie rock band Vacations has come together yet again with their recent release of “No Place Like Home.”
Although the album was released in January, every song radiates the feeling of summer. Vacations hones in on the nostalgia of summer, and a bulk of their discography harps on those distant memories in that season of life.
Being the third album in Vacations’ line of work, the artists broaden their horizons and utilize different instrumentation. Guitar elements are much more defined in this piece, compared to the muddied acoustic elements in the band’s EP “Vibes.” This is a much-needed change for the band, as it brings a newfound vibrancy to the work as a whole. Juxtaposed with their previous projects, I was able to distinguish between each song due to the strong differences in sound.
“Next Exit” is the first track on the album, and it’s arguably one of the best of the 10 songs. The song’s beginning sounds as if it is echoing from a distant radio. With this simple sonic effect, it feels as if the band is transporting the listener into the brighter, warmer thoughts associated with summer. “Take me back to the start / Or we can just let go” showcases the craving people have to go to positive, better times in their lives.
The song that bears the same name as the album is my favorite by far. “No Place Like Home” has wonderful chord evolution and takes its time to build. Time is required to allow the song to fully blossom, and different instrumental elements are added one by one throughout the song rather than being piled on a mere 30 seconds in.
Oftentimes, people hold onto summer memories because they contain things that are no longer in the individual’s life. Some of these things can be people who may have left or disappeared from their lives, and Vacations explains this beautifully in this song.
“Change course, sail away from your arms / It’s not safe here anymore” hits me hard in particular, as the artist is comparing life to navigating the open sea. Rather than going back to this person in memories, they realize that the two of them have become completely different people. Life, similar to the ocean, is easy to drown in and the artist must choose to move on if they want to live a healthy life.
This idea of moving on from a person is further emphasized in the song “Over You.” Although the guitar muting is annoying, the lyrics can provide introspection into the artist. “If it takes two / Can we call it a truce?” highlights the pain that the artist may be feeling, as they don’t want to cut off this person they shared so many memories with.
“You’re always on my mind / ‘Cause I miss you / As I don’t want you to go” makes up the chorus for “Midwest.” Once again, the individual does not want to let go, but as seen in the lyricism of “No Place Like Home,” this change must occur. Cutting off people may hurt in the moment, so people prolong the toxic relationship to avoid the pain of removal. When setting sail for the open sea, the individual may need to revise their map and set a course for a new, healthier destination.
“Arizona” is the only instrumental piece on the album. It acts as a break, a quiet moment amongst the chaos. In the background though, there is a whisper of a woman’s voice, which can be interpreted as the artist thinking back on a long-forgotten memory of the person they had to remove from their life.
This results in a major jump in story progression for the album. “All I long for / Is myself / All that you want / Is someone else” are lyrics found in “Close Quarters,” and prove that the artist has officially begun their journey of self-discovery. They realize that the person they know is only a memory and is no longer a part of their life.
“Arizona” acts as a moment of silence for this change in mentality in “Close Quarters,” where self-love is sought after rather than the love found in a relationship.
The album finishes with the artist realizing that they must change for the betterment of themself, as this lost friend or partner has already done. “Lost In Translation” is one of the calmest songs on the album, and begins with the lyric “Hello, stranger” and ends with “Know that I love you.” The artist will always be there for this person, as painful as it may be to let them go.
“No Place Like Home” is the mental battle the artist experiences about desiring to be with a person that can never be attained. From possible lover to friend, and then to stranger, Vacations’ album is a reflective piece that composes these complicated feelings into song.