By Jacqueline Sun
Mindset is the third album from Philadelphia electro-dream pop band, Vacationer. Vocalist Kenny Vasoli’s dreamy, distinctive vocals are layered over lush synths and retro instrumentals. The basslines are catchy, and the melodies are textured and complex.
This makes Mindset a beautiful and interesting listen, perfectly matching its summer-y release. It’s perfect soundtrack for a poolside party or road trip because it’s super warm and upbeat. Just as the title would suggest, it’s all about mindset, and this album puts you in a good one.
Thought the tracks are complex, the energy is relaxed and easygoing. Delicate keys introduce “Hallucinations”, which breaks into a trip-hop inspired beat that leisurely chugs along. “Being Here” is a psychedelic, slightly dizzying arrangement featuring shimmering synths and handclaps.
Mindset suffers, however, from front-loading. The best songs are the first two tracks, “Entrance” and “Magnetism,” which are swirly, catchy, and upbeat. The rest of the album follows suit, but after a while, it just gets tiring. The synth becomes grating, melodies are looped for longer than is comfortable, and the shiny veneer of the beginning tracks starts to wear away. For example, “Turning” seems suspiciously similar to “Entrance,” with the synthy riffs sounding almost identical. “Romance” echos the repetitive electronic beat motif in “Magnetism”. The similarity is not exactly subtle; and it makes me question the decision behind it. I would have preferred a shorter, more concisely edited album over more of the same sound. Mindset starts out energetically, yet seems to lose momentum by the fourth, samey-sounding track. The latter half of the record lacks the energy of the first half, leading to an unsatisfying conclusion.
It’s a shame because Mindset’s beginning sounds so promising, but unfortunately, the rest of the album fails to match it. Nonetheless, Mindset captures a certain dreamy, hazy state of mind, and so achieves Vasoli’s goal of creating a vacation in an album. Much like any extended vacation though, it’s always a slight relief when it ends.