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The Vacation

By: Jessica Grose

The Vacation is Mtley Cre with a conscience. This is disappointing, because the best part about Mtley Cre is that they had no conscience, and best of all, no self-awareness. The glam cock-rock of the ’80s was thrilling because it encapsulated hedonism, pure and simple. The Vacation seems to be approaching ’80s hair topics with 2005’s combination of social awareness and irony — a combination that occasionally falls hilariously flat.

Los Angeles denizens, the Vacation play modern metal a la the Darkness, with loud guitars, insistent drums, and coarse vocals. The fourth song on the Vacation’s debut full-length, “Destitute Prostitute,” starts with a driving guitar hook and lead singer Ben Tegel counting off “1-2-3-4.” Tegel’s gritty sneer, somewhat reminiscent of ACDC’s Bon Scott, sings in the first person plural, “We walk the streets and boulevards / With track marks on city arms.” These first lines come off as somewhat earnest social commentary, but then Tegel launches into the chorus, backed by a chorus of chanting voices, “We’re destitute (DESTITUTE) / We’re prostitutes (PROSTITUTES),” and it was all I could do not to laugh out loud. I still can’t tell if the Vacation is for real. I don’t think they know, either.

Throughout Band from World War Zero, the Vacation veers between reviling and lionizing the dirty land of the Sunset Strip. At times they’re extolling the virtues of a “Liquid Lunch,” and other times they’re lamenting the “White Noise,” of L.A. and its lack of meaning. “I’m disconnected, I’m out of touch,” Tegel laments, “It’s never enough.”

I like my cock rock cocky – that is to say completely immersed in sex and drugs. It SHOULD be enough for the glam rock contingent. From what I hear, the Vacation’s live show is true metal – sweating and ranting and leering at the audience. I think Ben Tegel, his brother the guitarist Steve Tegel, should take a page from the Cre songbook and stick to writing about booze and bitches.