Guilt Vacation - Agoraphobia (Cover Artwork)

Guilt Vacation

Agoraphobia (2022)

I'm fine thanks

Lincoln, Nebraska's Guilt Vacation twine rolling cornfields to beer soaked storytelling with their debut Agoraphobia.

The LP eases open with delayed guitar leads and soft vocals from guitarist Derek Wilson in "Up From the Deep and Dim." The shoegazer fires up and down, resolving to the eerie picking of guitarist T.J. Abele and the total bummer "Was It Enough." Twanging somewhere between the Weakerthans and Bayside, Wilson's vocal acrobatics and changes in flavor are an arsenal throughout the record, slapping away any familiarity of the moods and tempos that follow.

"The Last Time I Saw You" picks up the energy nicely, chugging palm-mutes and the most hooks thus far, with tandem drum fills and guitar leads that mirror later Boys Night Out or Face to Face. "Boxes Of Ghosts" is a treat, sewing booming shells to precise clean-guitar work in a catchy banger. "PANIC ATTACK!" is a terrific spot on the album, a fifty-four second punk sing-along complete with pounding, heartbeat kick drum.

Single "The Good Life" lands next, and with the anthemic expertise you would find in similar masterpieces from the Flatliners or the Swellers. You can really hear the four members' spirits in the room on this one. "Long Walk Home" sheds the heavy distortion for a lyrical memoir, whether singer/songwriter intent or not, there is a keen awareness of vocabulary in Wilson's writing, painting an addicting illustration along with his ten stories.

"90 Day Chip" ups the musicianship immensely, stacking clever instrumentation and an undeniably relatable situation within the span of a minute forty-five. The title track shifts the mood even farther to Americana, stretching tales of rural upbringings and abandonment over perhaps the most honest tune of the ten. "The Bitter Sleep" quite powerfully steers the album shut, hitting as hard as possible, and showcasing every trick in the Midwest quartet's playbook.

There is a genre ambiguity to Guilt Vacation, stuffed proudly in their koozies, that is incredibly special and unique, penning Agoraphobia into a longly worn journal shared amongst friends. Much recommend.