People On Vacation – The Chronicles Of Tim Powers

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

People On Vacation

The Chronicles Of Tim Powers - Brando Records

Once I finally got over the novelty of reviewing People On Vacation‘s The Chronicles of Tim Powers, while on my month long European vacation, I quickly appreciated the sophomore full length for its unlikely combination of quick punk wit and tender pop melodies.  The collaboration and blend of Jerret Riddick’s (Bowling for Soup) profane humour and Ryan Hamilton’s (Smile Smile) heartfelt transmission make for one of the most balanced offerings ever associated with Bowling for Soup‘s otherwise slapstick brand.  

The opening guitar strum and dash of piano paired with Hamilton’s indie-esque serenity makes for a distinct sentiment.  Only after laying down a mature base does Riddick chime in with his signature nasally 90’s pop-punk vocals, adding a snarky dimension to the peppy choral line “don’t ask the question if you don’t want the answer.”  Those with fond memories of SR71 stand to make a quick connection.  The track straddles the line between competing emotions, framing the forthcoming scenarios of heartbreak, selfish adolescent discovery and misgivings with a sense of retrospect.  For example, their playful tale of meeting a fiery woman in church (“You May Not Believe In God”) builds up to the snide punch line “I’ve got proof that there’s a devil.”  This early track comes from a youthful world where actions trump consequences, but are not forgotten.  In fact, later songs explore the results in tunes like “We Shoulda Made It” and “We All Want What We Can’t Have,” which call upon piano notes and bell chimes for a layer of maturity.

Perhaps the most mature moment lands in the melancholy mid-album piece, “She’s Not You.”  The track marks the realization that life only affords each of us limited opportunities.  Sometimes there is no going back, especially when we carelessly throw away what we didn’t know we valued most.  The delicate acoustic chords, pensive language and sparingly deployed piano keys heightens the sense of loss in the protagonist’s realization that the only fault of the woman he is currently with is that she is not the one he I string to replace.  Meanwhile, “The Girl I Used To Love” unapologetically tackles the topic of falling out of love.  The protagonist’s tasteful and respectful consideration of divorce culminates in a slow paced strummer that accounts for the effects on family and the acceptance of the impending departure from marriage.  Even with Reddick’s nasally voice often taking lead duties, People On Vacation achieve a sense of instrumental and lyrical depth.  

As someone who hasn’t been able to stomach anything associated with Bowling For Soup since The Great Burrito Extortion Case, People On Vacation is a breath of fresh air and a career booster for Jared Reddick.  While less familiar with Ryan Hamilton, his contributions define this Texan as a class act that successfully keeps Reddick’s potty mouth in check.  The Chronicles of Tim Powers is a great dose of tasteful pop-punk with tuneful flashes of indie-pop depth.  Some of the mature themes mean that it won’t likely be something that today’s kids flock to, but that those that grew up on pop-punk can nostalgically enjoy and revisit as they approach thirty.