Heart Attack

The Vacancy

A-F Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Tammy Childs

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/04/2005

"Punk" is defined as: any of various substances that smolder when ignited, used to light fireworks. Punk is also a fiery, hard-hitting, metal-pounding form of rock, based on rebellion and an in-your-face, I-don't-give-a-damn attitude. Not a lot of smoldering… more like fury and vengeance.

Back in the day, most often punk was screamed and screeched into a microphone, often defeating its own purpose of self-expression. Nihilism was frequently the basis for writing. Obscenities were used to state the anger felt due to boredom and frustration. With a big sigh of relief, it has evolved from the original sound of short lyrical phrases and hardcore repetitive riffs to a more intelligent, multi-layered form of writing both musically and lyrically. The compositions are more diverse and definitely more complete now. The drama is still there, but it has refined and is now elevating the music to another level.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Vacancy is a band of three friends. Heart Attack is their debut full-length CD. They function flawlessly and as a team: Ben Dietels (vocals and guitars) is the main songwriter and front man, Adam Sacco (bass) is the business man and booker, and Mike Calhoun (drums and percussion) does whatever is left to be done.

"In the Backseat" is a slam-your-head-against-the-dash kind of sound that punk is famous for. This is a love song, which might seem like a contradiction, but even punkers need lovin'. The lyrics are catchy and well-written. Ben is the lyricist and the words pour from his heart.

"Anthem" curtails the pace, if that is possible, and the cleaner, clearer vocals are a welcome change. There is a more equitable balance between the music and the vocals and it's preferable to having to strain to hear the words buried by the extreme music. I don't like straining to hear the refrains; it makes me wonder what they're covering up. "Debutante" exposes the heart of the writer, describing wanting to crush the self-centered attitude of an ex. The vocals are a bit rough and do shred your ears a bit, but hey, that's punk! Not complaining, but my ears are still ringing.

Being blue-eyed myself, I wanted to like "Blue Eyes." It's a song of pain and the angst of another disrupted love affair. I was in pain when listening to it though; a bit too repetitious for this listener. "Get Up, Get Out" shares what we have all felt at one time; there is a passionate depth and a controlled intensity to the music.

This band has all the trademarks of a soft-punk personality. They put feeling into their poetic writings and yet they still hammer the guitar, slamming the music into the innermost part of your ears and eating your brain with their intensity.

The threesome admits that they get a little "big-headed" at times, but know that they must keep things in control and stay focused. I think they're doing quite well so far. They have the needed energy and drive, yet their sound is well-rounded and stylish. They incorporate the fury of punk with the melody of rock. Their strength is in the poetic refrains; they truthfully express themselves lyrically without forcing their message down your throat.

Rating: B-

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© 2005 Tammy Childs and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A-F Records, and is used for informational purposes only.