Year of Release: 2016
Call it indie pop, chill wave, synth pop, garage rock, shoegaze, whatever. There’s certainly a lot of discordant guitars, reverb, and fuzzy production on San Francisco duo Acid Ghost’s latest album Vacation II, but that doesn’t mean the derivative nature of the tunes here is a drawback. In fact, there’s a warmth and accessibility to the songs, from the Wild Nothing-esque melancholy of opener “Sandy Kim”, the blown out garage dissonance of “best friend”, to the dreamy balladry of “Mikey’s Song”. Comprised of Ace Barcelon and Mikey Mendoza, Acid Ghost plays loose and familiar, but each track seems to change genre gears; from washed out, slow building compositions to dream pop soundtracks for lonely drives down deserted highways that gives the record a shape-shifting feeling. There’s a wistfulness here, derived possibly from pure youthfulness, that keeps Vacation II from coming off like a cash in on the Jesus and Mary Chain-influenced nostalgia craze. Plus, when things begin sounding a bit too generically dream-poppy, a cut like “Aly’s Song” comes along to give us a little Joy Division-style rhythmic groove and distortion to dance the night away.