How do you define a basic vacation? Is it a week at the beach, tanning your days away as the waves crash on shore? Is it a hike through the woods, canteen in hand as your take in all of Mother Nature? I’m not sure, but neither do these guys. They call themselves Basic Vacation and even though their name’s origin may just be a combination of two words that sounded OK together, the sound of their band is more than just OK. It’s actually pretty excellent and could prove to be a winner in the next year. The three teens are ready to impress with their first major label single, “I Believe”, which goes to Alternative radio with an impact date of October 29.
The trio of Chris Greatti, Jon Paul and Mike Montalbano formed in New York City last year, though they also call Philadelphia home. It was then that they released a music video for their song “If You Want To” (now private, possibly due to a membership change), an electro-pop jam that sounded straight out of 2000. It’s a tad underproduced, but I do enjoy it. Think of it as a combination of fun. vocally and Passion Pit musically. However, with limited resources to promote and a much smaller following than they have today, the song didn’t travel well. Luckily, things have been going up for the band ever since. They’re one of two acts that were signed earlier this year to Atom Factory Music, a joint effort through Capitol Records and Atom Factory Entertainment, formed by music manager Troy Carter. An EP from the band will be out October 15 with a full-length LP targeted for 2014. Right now, it’s the single that looks to hook a bigger audience.
If you know “Want” or listened to it above, then “Believe” is a significant change in sound. It’s poppy, but not in the same way that their previous release was. It’s far more indie rock-leaning — vocally, musically and in the production value. Given the musical state of radio, it’s definitely not a bad thing; indie is in. The layered leads and chanting in the chorus is crisp, the guitars and drum are on point and it has a bigger, anthemic quality to it. There’s a little to be desired in the lyrics, mostly because the message is oversimplified, as they sing about holding onto a relationship: “I believe in me and you/No matter what they put us through or what they try to do.” Yes, I’m a little picky, but they’re capable of better and I know they have it in them. I’m sure there will be other songs on the EP that can go deeper than this, but all in all, it’s a pleasant song.
The radio aspect of this single will be done solely through Capitol, which will ensure that it gets a decent push at radio. The label has several active singles on the format right now, including “Pompeii” by Bastille (on Virgin/Capitol), likely the next #1, and “Safe And Sound” by Capital Cities (on Merge/Capitol), which is still plugging away as it slowly descends. If you’re thinking like me, you’re witnessing the beginning of potentially one of the big crossover hits of next year. The strategy is all there; that is, if this single doesn’t get lost in the holiday freeze. Remember, it’s going for adds at the end of October. Couple that with the fact that this band is relatively new and there may potentially be a red flag. That being said, it’s easy to hear that this is a really good debut single, reminiscent of offerings last year from Walk The Moon and Youngblood Hawke. If they could succeed, then so can these guys. “Believe” is also being featured on an advertisement for the NBC show The Biggest Loser, and that placement early on will also help the cuase.
The band’s on tour through the end of the month, making stops in New York City (I’m hoping to see them there at a CMJ showcase), Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, just to mention a few cities. You can get more information on the schedule through their Facebook account. Basic Vacation may be just starting out on their passage to pop paradise, but this is one trip you should plan on packing for.