Music Critic Riley Wells commends Lunar Vacation’s ethereal indie pop sound and ability to create an intimate show
Lunar Vacation hail from Atlanta, Georgia, and played their first show in August 2016. Describing themselves as ‘pool rock’, the band is comprised of Grace Repasky on vocals and guitar, Maggie Geeslin on guitar, Matteo De Lurgio on key sand Connor Dowd on drums, with Ben Wulkan joining them on bass for their live shows. Inspired by the nostalgic indie-pop of the early 2010s, Lunar Vacation are a breath of fresh air for the music industry, and particularly the indie genre.
Following the release of Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp in October 2021, Lunar Vacation embarked on an adventure – a season-long tour that brought them to Europe, and by extension Birmingham, for the very first time. Their show at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath was a wonderful testament to the evolution of indie pop over the last decade, while the cosy setting allowed for a social element which is often lost in bigger venues.
The supporting act, Robert Craig Oulton, set the tone for the evening with just two instruments: his guitar and his laptop. With his raw, passionate vocals reminiscent of British indie giants Catfish and the Bottlemen, Oulton captivated the audience, while his meandering guitar held echoes of Midwest emo bands such as Modern Baseball and Mom Jeans.
After a short set by Oulton, Lunar Vacation took to the stage, opening with a track from Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp entitled ‘Peddler’. Grace Repasky’s vocals brought a naïve sweetness to the track, which is customary of their silvery, lingering style. Meanwhile, Connor Dowd on drums brought a liveliness to the performance which can only be experienced live. Despite the venue’s limited capacity, what the crowd lacked in numbers was more than made up for in support (and sometimes backup vocals).
Other standout performances included the third number, ‘Unlucky’ and later a 2018 track titled ‘Too Late, Colin’. ‘Unlucky’ was originally released in March 2020 and contained a masterful blending of smooth guitar riffs and Repasky’s melancholic lyrics. Similarly lovelorn, ‘Too Late, Colin’ was the track that introduced me to Lunar Vacation and allowed Matteo De Lurgio to showcase his keyboard ability as the crowd swayed in time.
In between tracks, Repasky and guitarist Maggie Geeslin made an effort to engage with the audience, so when someone asked them if they had seen Peaky Blinders, they of course responded with their best British accents. Another endearing moment came when Repasky introduced their bandmates by name before asking the crowd to introduce themselves all at the same time. Such interactions between a band and their audience may seem small, but they greatly enhance the atmosphere, especially in such a homely, informal setting.
Two of my personal favourite tracks on the album, ‘Mold’ and ‘Gears’, made for excellent performances. The opening of ‘Mold’ was completely ethereal, with Repasky and Geeslin’s voices combining to create the iconic “are you in love?” introduction, while the painfully honest lyricism spoke to the performative influencer culture of Los Angeles.
Alternatively, ‘Gears’ described the uncanny sensation of looking back on past relationships and the process of realisation and self-forgiveness that comes with it. Additionally, it was a great opportunity for Dowd to exhibit his talent with the varied pace of the song.
In short, Lunar Vacation’s live shows are completely magical, and the amount of care and precision they put into each of their tunes is clear. It would be a privilege to see them again, if just to hear ‘Too Late, Colin’, and Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp is definitely an album to look out for.
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