album review: twenty something nightmare

Written by Tori O'Campo

Less than a year after the release their first debut album, Booty Shakers Ball, Vista Kicks are already back with another full length LP that once again showcases their skill at blending classic rock characteristics with their “New California sound.” Their second album, Twenty-Something Nightmare, was released after hype surrounding the band after they released three singles into public domain. The band is well appreciated musically by fans for their iconic guitar solos, glam rock tones, and the dynamic energy that they bring to every recording and performance.

This new 17-track album includes the elements that originally hooked fans, while also showcasing some new sounds, proving that they are a consistent yet evolving band. The members of Vista Kicks have always claimed to be heavily influenced by classic rock artists such as Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones, which is made evident once again through the music elements utilized in this new album. By taking the qualities of the classic music that inspired them and combining them with their own artistic ideas, Vista Kicks has created a unique musical sensation.

The album opens with the first single Vista Kicks released, “Million Dollar Seller Pt. 1.” This track opens the album with a surge of energy, with the immediate upbeat energy of horns and a heavily distorted guitar tone. The song seems to be commentary on the commercialization of the music business, which fits since the track was released into public domain on June 1st. Their goal in choosing public domain was to create a trend to allow accessibility of music to more people and to highlight the over-glorification of the money making elements of the music business.

The second track on the album, “If I Didn’t Have You,” introduces a new vibe that is unlike what Vista Kicks has done before. Reminiscent of 60’s love ballads, this romantic song opens with a beautiful guitar melody paired with reverberated vocals. With the repeating lyrics “if i didn’t have you, what would I be,” romance is at the front and center of this song. During the songs bridge, their iconic beachy guitar tone enters and picks up the pace of the song. As the song becomes more upbeat, it reminded me a lot of the band’s earlier singles that were released under the band name “Babe.”

“I’m Yours” starts out slow, with just vocals and a simple guitar in the background. As the drums enter and guitar picks up the song, the sound reminds me a lot their older work on the original EP. The mixing on this song, however, is not my favorite on the album. The drums came in a bit strong and seemed to overpower vocals and guitar. However, throughout the track, the guitar tone shifts multiple times which changes the songs vibe skillfully.

“Machula” is one of my personal favorite tracks on the album. From beginning to end, its rhythmic qualities are enchanting and the strong lead vocals keep you drawn in. The 808 drum machine’s hi hat and kick pattern provides a stable platform for the other instrumentals.

“Water Under the Bridge” is the slowest and most heartbreaking song on the album with soft acoustic guitar, bass, and harmonica. Lyrically beautiful as well, the words tell a story of a relationship that did not work out, yet both people seem to be hung up on what they once had. The lyrics “I know it is sad what we had is down the drain, and you still love me but it will never be the same, it is water under the bridge” describe such honest emotion, drawing feelings of heartbreak from any listener.

The title track, “Twenty Something Nightmare,” is the final track on the LP. From beginning to end, this song lyrically and musically sums up the album. The beginning starts off slow and solemn with soft vocals and a sweet acoustic guitar. The feelings of being a misunderstood “twenty something” year old who is trying to figure it all out are expressed in this slow beginning. As lead singer Derek Thomas sings the lyrics “Careless talk doesn’t make a sound, even your heartbeat isn’t very loud” the soft drum beat enters and increases in volume before the guitar line also starts in. The prosody in this song is used skillfully and adds dimension to the track. The instruments flow in and out so subtly throughout the song, accompanying the narrative so naturally that it does not even seem bizarre when isolated vocals are suddenly backed by energetic instrumentals of the full band. The song in full expresses the ups and downs of being in your twenties, as shown through the lyrics, instrumental, tempo, and  the guitar solo towards the end of the song is emotional and passionate, and is one of my favorite solos on the album.

Take a listen to the album for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments!:

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