DAILY VACATION - Yumaque
Daily Vacation is the band formerly known as Fracture, and even if the decision to change names seems weird at first, I actually makes sense, considering that Fracture was initially the bedroom electronica solo project of Ralph Zeimet. Three years ago, he was joined by Sébastien (Cyclorama) on Fracture’s first rock album We Dare You Wonder, a dense and rarely uplifting one hour journey through the darker sides of the musicians’ psyches. Three years have passed since that record which was released on Fracture’s own label Schnurstrax, and in the meantime Mike Tock (ex-Metro) joined, and that’s probably when the three-piece discovered that a new band name would be the right thing to do.
Yumaque has been released on the fine French label Chez Kito Kat, and it is probably a good idea to separate the artistic dimension from the business side. I have to admit that early streaming sessions didn’t convince me too much, but then this is an album that demands a lot of your time and attention to unfold its every charm. These musicians are also music fans, and as such they are influenced by a wide array of genres, so that it’s next to impossible to define their style in a simple term… but maybe post kraut rock closes to the truth.
The album starts with Out Of The Box, Into The Dark, a slowly building track that has all the trademarks of a classic post rock song. Beginning with moody electronics and an undistorted picked guitar high on reverb, it doesn’t take too long to erupt into a wholesome crescendo. The following Dawn At The Lagoon doesn’t lose time to show that there are also other sides to this band. Led by a programmed beat and bass line, with silky synth carpets, this track is carried by hardly distorted guitar picking, combining brainy electronica with ambient moods before, on the last third, we get some live drums and the track finally evolves some monstrous momentum. This song probably summarises best what Daily Vacation is about. Circles is also a fun track, even though it made me think of Kim Wilde’s version of the Supremes’ You Keep Me Hanging On. So this has become, by coincidence probably, an unwanted tribute, but it’s still a hell of a good piece of music.
The middle third of Yumaque is somewhat more cryptic and hence not quite as accessible. Masonic Street for instance slowly builds momentum but is already over hardly before it began. I understand that Daily Vacation want to create more concise material than Fracture used to in the past, but in this case, two more minutes would have been welcome. The title track reflects the band’s love for chillwave and glo-fi, and the same goes for the following short El Café. Both are nice tracks, but I do prefer the guys when they are rocking! The Sky Was The Sea, A Sunday Morning is with nearly seven minutes the album’s longest track, and just like the opener could be called a post rock song. Even though that genre by itself is not that interesting anymore, Daily Vacation manage to pull it off very successfully.
And we come already to the last third, starting with the strange Bitch, Let’s Get Trashed, a one minute punk eruption that left me speechless, to say the least. But hey, after all the doom and gloom we used to get from Fracture, there should be nothing wrong with a little bit of humour. Incidentally, the band even made a video clip for that song! Acid Texas Motorcycle might be the way Acid Mothers Temple would sound if they had grown up in the arid desert of the USA. The guitars are really loud on this track, but cheerful handclapping make sure that the mood never fails on this nice piece of guitar mayhem. The album fitfully ends on another highlight: Palm Desert Rotor is genius pure, combining the reverb drenched sound of surf guitars with acid tripping psychedelia. It’s also here where the kraut rock influence is strongest, with Can and Neu spontaneously coming to mind. There is a vintage keyboard line meandering through the song, increasing its amount of dementia by the minute, and when things come to an end after good six minutes, you might feel reminded of the very early Soft Machine.
Back in 2009, I really liked Fracture, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Daily Vacation is a wholly evolved band with a lot more potential. Yumaque is good throughout, but especially the first and last couple of songs stand out strongly. Available on vinyl, CD and digital download, this album should not be absent in any decent record collection. This is the best local music I have heard in years!