Chasm opens with an intro of the same name; its summery indie-pop groove very similar to that of Maryland quartet, The Dangerous Summer. Singer, Joshua actually sounds very similar to their own frontman/bassist, AJ Perdomo. First single ‘Just Sing’ echoes Angels and Airwaves’ light and carefree space-rock. Co-vocalist, Jon-Paul also bares comparison to another singer like his bandmate; one Tom Delonge and his distinctive rolling notes. Uncanny vocal similarities aside, it’s a pleasant track and the two singers’ vocal interactions are clean and attractive. ‘Invention’ is luckily a little more ambitious; with bigger guitar riffs and crashing drums. The two singers are much stronger here too; both showing off their ranges and colliding lines like a scuffle broke out.
Watch 'Just Sing':
Unfortunately the upbeat ‘Round and Round’ and jaunty ‘Tonight’ bear a strong resemblance to the previous, although the former does culminate in a blast of guitars and passionate vocals which is new in the last 30secs (albeit a bit late to be memorable). It quickly becomes very clear that Chasm is a bit of a one trick pony. Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy listening to bands like The Maine and Go Radio, but for me their style can get a little repetitive and the sweetness starts to hurt my teeth. As with any musical style, it’s best to switch it up once in a while and the sentimental pop-rock genre is one best taken in small doses.
Despite having got a little bummed out about Strange Vacation’s linear style, I was happy to float away with ‘Lonely’; a hugely likeable tune with an extremely catchy refrain that’s hard to block out. It’s the strongest track here and I really like the power that bassist, Mark gets to show. There’s also an unidentified female singer (anyone?) around two and a half minutes through who adds a nice, tender touch to the mix. I think it’s the same gal that also crops up on ‘I Left My Heart’ and final track, ‘Impression’. The former starts off interestingly enough with vocals put through an effects machine before sadly, the same familiar guitar chords make themselves at home. The latter also lulls along in the same pace and fashion, not really making a lasting impression.
Strange Vacation’s debut is a well-produced, well-oiled 10-track machine. And unfortunately it runs like one; press start and let it lumber down its direct, unwavering course. There are lovely melodies and overlapping vocal harmonies that recall time out in the sun with friends and family, but when those same melodies and harmonies repeat, it gets a bit tiresome. As I mentioned, it's clear that they have big ambitions. So it would be great to hear them expand their style and experiment just a little to break out of the box that so many are already crammed into.