The Young Veins

Take a Vacation!

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Panic at the Disco were clearly looking backwards to the ambitious psychedelic pop of the Beatles circa Sgt. Pepper's on their 2008 album Pretty. Odd., but it seems that guitarists Ryan Ross and Jon Walker wanted to dig even deeper into rock & roll's past. In 2009, Ross and Walker quit Panic at the Disco to form their own group, and the first album from their new combo the Young Veins, Take a Vacation!, is clearly influenced by early British Invasion era pop/rock, particularly the crunch and melodic sense of the Kinks, the graceful energy of the Hollies, and the tuneful smarts of the Searchers. While there are flashes on Take a Vacation! where the Young Veins seem to view this music through revisionist glasses in the manner of Big Star or Shoes, for the most part, this sounds and feels like an honest and heartfelt homage to both the style and the era, and punk rock insouciance never really enters the picture -- except for "Defiance," these 11 songs are as well scrubbed and well mannered as anything that hit the charts in 1965, and the production (four numbers by Rob Mathes, the others by Alex Greenwald) is simple and unobtrusive enough to recall the one-take-wonders of the era. The youthful angst that pervades the lyrics is about the only audible clue to Ross and Walker's emo past, though they're not all that far from the teen tragedies that were a big part of AM radio back in the day, and it's possible that Take a Vacation! acknowledges a vital influence rather than merely paying tribute to a style close to their hearts. Either way, it's a well-crafted pop album with some fine tunes and pitch-perfect performances, through it does beg the question of whether Ross and Walker intend to stay in 1965 or keep moving a bit further back in time with each record.

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