Monday, September 02, 2019

Vista Blue - Tricks and Treats

While I was preparing for this review, it suddenly dawned on me that Vista Blue is my favorite pop-punk band. Perhaps that was obvious to you all after the first 18 times I reviewed this band. But Vista Blue has always existed in this unique place where pop-punk, power pop, alternative rock, and The Beach Boys co-exist. Hearing the band concentrate almost completely on pop-punk for a whole album was a really delightful experience. Tricks and Treats, out next month on OUTLOUD! and Ratgirl Records, is of course a Halloween-themed album. But I've never been a big horror guy, and I still love this record! I imagine that those of you who love pop-punk and horror will go nuts for this thing!

Being a Halloween-themed Vista Blue record, Tricks and Treats is of course loaded with songs referencing horror movies. On this record, the band pays homage to such films as Doll Boy, Sleepaway Camp, Wishmaster, and Children of the Corn (Hey! I like that one!). There's also a cover of the doo-wop golden oldie "Zombie Walk" by The Magics. But what really endears me to this record is the way it takes more traditional pop-punk themes and applies them to the Halloween season. "I Don't Wanna Trick Or Treat With You" is like a kid-friendly twist on the Ramones. If someone dissed my Drew Brees costume and ate all of my Twix, I wouldn't want to trick or treat with that person either! The nerve! "My House Is Haunted" is an upbeat number about being so in love that you literally don't care that you're living in a haunted house. It's essentially a scarier "Let It Snow". How many lovelorn teens will relate to "I Think Your Boyfriend Is A Zombie" this fall? "I'm Gonna Be You For Halloween", the ultimate pop-punk kiss-off, brings new meaning to the idea of having a scary ex.

Tricks and Treats is such a splendidly executed pop-punk record that it makes me feel like I'm 25 again. It just puts a massive smile on my face. Vista Blue blasts through these 11 tracks with the rocket-fueled simplicity of the Ramones, the candy-coated gleefulness of the Kung Fu Monkeys, and the literate vulnerability of the Mr. T. Experience. It was bands like this that made me love pop-punk, and it's band like this that make me love it still. While this album will not be available until next month, pre-orders are now live for the digital album on Vista Blue's Bandcamp and the cassette on Ratgirl Records. OUTLOUD! will be releasing the CD. Scarier than LSU's front seven and catchier than a zombie infection, Tricks and Treats is truly the Halloween record for all seasons.


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