A tinkle of chimes ringing from the bridge of a Rickenbacker guitar introduce “The Heat”, the new single from Cincinnati-based Vacation. A technique often employed by Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore and other rock musicians on the avant-garde, its place on this driving punk track seems, at face, incongruous. But a deeper listen reveals further genre-bending ambitions beginning at the thirty-four second mark, when the “The Heat”’s languorous post-punk groove gives way to a martial, danceably tight punk beat.
Heavy, overdriven guitars support warm, fuzzy vocals until they don’t, retreating to sparser chord progressions that highlights thrumming bass and a quotidian anecdote: “She comes on soft like the morning/He licks me good by high noon/He cuts me down and then he’s through.” When Vacation rouse themselves from their reverie, they recall the song’s experimental beginnings with sleigh bells and high-pitched guitar noodling. They command the track and their listeners to: “Return to whatever you were/I thought I knew/but I forgot.” It’s at that moment—almost a pop breakdown—that “The Heat” finds its strongest emotional resonance. The track, from their album Non-Person, forthcoming on Don Giovanni Records, is streaming below.