Rickkert Reviews: Family Vacation – Are We Criminals

Chicago based indie rock band “Family Vacation” recently released their studio debut with the “Are We Criminals” Ep. So let’s see if the band sound comes through in a studio environment.

 Ep opener is more of a slow burn, but the instrumental guitar riff that forms the back bone of this song has its upbeat qualities. Lyrically the song tells a story about a lazy Sunday at face value, but on a deeper level the song seems to talk about live in general and being stuck in the mundane.  Personally this one was a bit to slow for me, but that doesn’t stand in the way of the dreamy feel of the song.

The dreamy and distorted tones keep coming with “Every Song” which lyrically focuses on the struggles of song-writing and creativity draining activities. Kind of a meta subject to write a song about, which is way I like the lyrics of this one the most.

Title tracks “Are We criminals” adds some old school rock flair, but keeps the bands dreamy tone, which is mostly carried by the vocal style. The instrumentals give me 70 vibes but with a modern twist.

“No More Early Times” comments on the mentality in the indie scene and quotes the band has heard during the search for a label (which ends up being “Take a Hike Records I guess”) instrumentally this song features my favorite guitar riff on the album, which reels me in the most for this song.

The album closes with the self referencing dragon fruit, which adds some pop flair into the mix, with the chorus heaving an instrumental hook.

While “Are We Criminals” consists of re-recordings of old demos and therefore is a mix of the bands earlier work and ideas, it all fits together surprisingly well, with the Ep seeming to have a running them with identity. The start was quite a slow burn, but the band made more than up for it with clever songwriting and instrumental hooks to real you in. With that being said I hope the put some more tempo in on future releases, but for a first studio recording, its more than a strong start.

I don’t have song recommendations, just give the whole ep a playthrough on a lazy Sunday.            

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