The Super Vacations - Thicker Milk (SHDWPLY)

You can envisage a band of hippies smashing up their instruments and setting a drum kit on fire.

Released Sep 6th, 2010 via SHDWPLY / By James Labous
The Super Vacations - Thicker Milk (SHDWPLY) The Super Vacations are a five piece hailing from Virginia, who play a very appealing brand of garage punk on acid. Like The Black Angels, another five piece psychedelic band, this time from Austin, Texas, singer Rob Ulsh and his band of merry sound makers, have a talent for combining great riffs with a touch of artful distorted soloing and vocals so heavily treated with reverb they sound like the call of a monk meditating.

What is impressive about this album, the second by the East Coast group, is the discipline instilled into their song writing. Most of the tracks are no more than two minutes in length - there is no drugged out self indulgence in sight as they fly through twenty one tracks. Thicker Milk is a montage of little gems; each song offering up a flash of Stooges influenced madness, or a mellow soundscape.

But despite the conciseness of Thicker Milk there aren’t many stand out tracks – it levels at a seven and half out of ten, with the exception of 'Ten Second Freakout' (in fact one of the longer tracks on the album), an easy choice for album single. However, most listeners will find the songs different enough for the album not to merge into one, and become one massive messy gunk of stoned music. Admittedly, this is a potential hazard of psych music generally!

Just when you expect guitarists Mike Hill and Bladen Day to launch into another chorus, the songs finish like the end of a set by The Who, or the bad trip of a Vietnam War veteran. You can envisage a band of hippies smashing their instruments and setting a drum kit on fire.

Inevitably, like with The Black Angels, there is a hint of nostalgia for times passed, but The Super Vacations stop short of producing gimmicky retro nonsense. They achieve a trippy punk groove that’s dripping with (for the most part) contemporary cool, and like all the best psychedelic groups of the late sixties, they have a great ear for melody. The strength of this album is its consistency.