July 9, 2010

Young Veins Take A Run At Classic California Style Pop

I was never a fan of Panic! At The Disco, even though their emo-pop sound dominated the music scene in the mid-2000's and put the MTV set and emo kids on their ears. With millions in sales and no end in sight it is a bit strange that guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker left the band last year. Now the two have bobbed to the surface of the musical seas in the midst of a new five-piece power pop combo, The Young Veins.

There are few things they could have done musically that would have been so far from their time in Panic!. The Young Veins new record, Take A Vacation, is a retro leaning nod to the classic sound of sunny, summery, pop music. The album is fun-filled ride through songs that echo the soft pop of The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Zombies, while eschewing the rougher edges of The Stones or The Who. It's not all retro though with a more contemporary comparison being The Kaiser Chiefs, especially on the album's title track "Take A Vacation".

It seems that Rose and Walker, now away from the more punchy sound and themes of Panic! truly are on a vacation, and on vacation you don't wanna have to work hard, you want easy listening. The album's sound is drenched in Beach Boys-like vocal harmonies (most notably on "Cape Town"), Kinks-like melodies (like on "Maybe I Will, Maybe I Won't") and sixties styled guitar riffs with hints of surf music and lots of catchy hooks. The music by itself is like watching the sun set over Catalina Island on a hot summer night.

The easiness doesn't always extend to the themes The Young Veins explore. Yes there are love songs about boys and girls, but their more about tortured romance than young love. But there are others themes, like the first single and opening track "Change" about a washed up beauty queen turned bag lady.

It's nice to see mainstream artists getting back into old-school pop music, revisiting the pop of past eras, and updating it for a new generation of fans.

The Young Veins -- Cape Town(2010)

The Young Veins - Take A Vacation! (Live)