After a week’s break from this blog, filled with nothing but countless hours of essay writing, I’m about ready for the summer to start, and I know I’m not the only one. The week away also gave me time to reflect and fall back into music that has been forgotten or, for some, never heard. With this in mind, I thought I would give a new series a go, entitled ‘From the Vault’ where I can drag up old tracks that deserve another moment in the spotlight. Kicking off as the first instalment is a band I only discovered a few years ago despite being nearly eight years old and will make that longing for the summer holidays turn into pure yearning.
The Young Veins were formed in its infancy in 2009 by former Panic! At the Disco members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker after the two decided they wanted to go in a different musical direction than where the band was heading. Taking the vibe and creativity from Pretty. Odd (and producer Rob Mathes) the two began recording sessions for what would turn into a vintage pop/rock band before releasing their debut – and unfortunately only – album, Take A Vacation!, in 2010. Joined by bassist Andy Soukal, drummer Nick Murray and keyboardist Nick White, The Young Veins became something classic and timeless.
The first single to be released from Take A Vacation!, the upbeat combination of heavy bass drum and slick 60s guitar style mask the fable like lyrics upon the first listen. A short introduction to the album, the song is laced in superstitious imagery and forewarning to not spend your time on pointless people. Whether intended or not, the irony of the song sings through from the repetition of the track’s title of ‘Change’, being something to bring old fans across and welcome new ones in. The music video really makes the band seem as if they belong to another time whilst that hypnotic guitar solo transports you there.
Take A Vacation!
The name sake of the album and the second single released, ‘Take A Vacation!’ is a two-and-a-half-minute summary of what to expect from the entirety of The Young Veins’ debut. Channelling The Beach Boys something major, ‘Take A Vacation!’ is retro to the extreme and infuses an unrelenting need to pack your bags and just head where the road takes you. It’s a good reminder to never allow yourself to get stuck in a rut or be tied down by anyone or anything.
Of course, no summer could ever be truly complete without a little romance and nothing is more romantic than unrequited love, right? Slowing things down a bit, ‘Cape Town’ tells the tale of loving and losing but inevitably having to move on. Pushing both the album and the narrator forward, the track really showcases Ryan’s talent at romanticising even some of the most dismal situations and giving us something to croon along to when our own hearts are broken.
Young Veins (Die Tonight)
Probably my favourite from the album, ‘Young Veins (Die Tonight)’ still makes me feel the same way at 21 as I did when I first heard it at 18 and hope it still does when I’m well past my day. A forever young song without using the old cliché, the track sings of youthful ignorance as if we’ll never know anything else. It’s a song that can make you feel irrevocably old from nostalgia and irreversibly young from the lyrics all at once.
Everyone But You
Something The Young Veins gave us that Panic! never did was a chance to hear Jon Walker’s sweet vocals. His voice is perfect for the pining love song that is ‘Everyone But You’, carrying on that same romantic melancholy from ‘Cape Town’ backed by beautifully romantic chords.
One of my favourite things from Panic!’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out is Ryan’s lyrics, their creative intricacies that took concepts, metaphors and pure feeling to thread together some very poetic songs. ‘Dangerous Blues’ contains the same poetry but with less of the jarring sound to allow the words to completely shine through. The abstract lyrics of ‘Dangerous Blues’ are just beautiful and are accompanied by a soft, almost sensual, guitar strumming that rises you high before pulling you to back down to the spiralling end.
Heart of Mine
A combination of both the fun and heartache of Take A Vacation!, ‘Heart of Mine’ is the perfect closer. If the rest of the album can be viewed as running or finding distractions for your feelings, ‘Heart of Mine’ finally accepts the reality of them and offers them on a platter. The soft acoustic sound is played to both Ryan’s and a chorus of voices holding nothing back, the vulnerability and honesty of the song practically bleeding through.
Along with ‘Maybe I Will, Maybe I Won’t’, ‘The Other Girl’, ‘Defiance’ and ‘Lie to the Truth’, Take A Vacation! is a perpetual summer album and one I don’t believe will ever be out of style even if it’s popularity has diminished. The Young Veins disbanded the same year the album was released, Jon tweeting out and calling it a “hiatus.” Whilst the likelihood is low, it still leaves hope for a reunion one day where these songs can be breathed back into life.
By Skye W. Winwood