BY EMMA SCHOORS
Vista Kicks’ “Twenty Something Nightmare” is an explosive second record, ranking in at 18 songs. Telling by the fact that the quartet’s first album made its way to listeners’ ears just last year, we can tell the band has been working hard to put out lots of quality music.
The record begins with a bang, all in with “Million Dollar Seller Pt. 1”, showcasing all the great vocals and instrumentals displayed throughout the album. It then takes a meaningful sharp turn with “If I Didn’t Have You”, a personal favorite of mine. It has simple yet heart-filled lyrics, and the same goes for the melodies. It’s like a tight hug from an old friend.
“Victim of the Times” and “Live, You’re Gonna Die” are classic examples of Vista Kick’s ever-present ability to make vintage-inspired tunes with modern appeal. The lyrics in the latter are more of an ironic twist to the common inspiring track. Singer Derek Thomas’ vocals are timeless and, if I dare say, simply amazing.
“I’m Yours” is the ultimate build up of live-feeling energy and danceability. It’s the type of song to get you involuntarily up on your feet and moving around. Perhaps it has special powers? (Vista Kicks, explain?) followed by “Cool It”, a classic sounding tune. It’s a sort of actual “cooling down” of the record. The drums are simple and complimentary, with the guitars acting as sort of sound effects.
“Wrong Side of Town” is great guitar tone galore brought by guitarist + singer Sam Plecker, and arguably some the catchiest vocals shown in the album. To continue this sing along pattern is “Numbers”, a song perfectly fit for the current nostalgic summer we all seem to be having.
“Million Dollar Seller Pt. 2” puts us back in check and brings us back to the beginning of this roller coaster of a record, with the same other-worldly guitars and extravagant drums by Nolan Le Vine. Speaking of extravagant, we get a new palette full of piano with “Machula”, a tune for those who appreciate the great classic-rock backing vocals and well coordinated bass, supplied by bassist Trevor Sutton.
“Why Do You Say You Love Me” is a perfect calm down song. It has some of my favorite lyrics of the album, simply asking the straight to the point questions. This leaves the song up for interpretation, which is the whole point of making a different experience for each listener. It makes it feel somehow more personal.
“Having A Good Time” and “Kelly Come Back” are ironic to put back to back, considering their at first doubtful lyrics, eventually exploding into the latter of the tunes, becoming a completely different complex of song. “Kelly Come Back” brings beautiful drums and arguably the most confident lyrics, despite the regretful tone.
“I Can’t Think of Anything but U” reminds me of the dreamy vocals brought by bands like Beware of Darkness. It’s a simply stated song, but it’s got the same complexity in instruments that make this entire record so gorgeous. “Your Love Is All I Need” is a similar feat, bringing to the table harmonic sounds and the falsettos that make all of us fall in love with the band 24/7.
“Water Under the Bridge” is a refreshing acoustic take on what’s usually a powerhouse of sound. It has the same urge to be played loud, if not even more of that urge, which might be the whole point. It makes listeners take a double take at what’s usually something skimmed over. “All Over Now” is a sort of cinematic-feeling ending to what would have been a great film, don’t get me wrong. It’s like the sign of relief after a section of time lived with tension all over, but this time, that tension has just been pure excitement. And perhaps the relief is pure bliss.
“Twenty Something Nightmare” wraps the identically-titled record. It’s a dreamy landscape of what makes a live band so amazing in the studio. It’s the ability to make a song fit for an arena and for a club. It’s the perfect mix of soft and rough. It’s got the build up, but it doesn’t waste any time getting to summarizing the feel of the whole album. It makes listeners happily await the lyric “Twenty something nightmare, that’s what you are.” And when you get that satisfaction, the whole record feels like a great film; well put together, yet not too serious. What’s the point of making music that doesn’t make you want to get up and dance?
Check out Vista Kicks’ latest album now and their socials below.