Album: Lunar Vacation – Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp review

by Philip Moss

Burying melodies into every nook and cranny, the Atlanta, GA four piece stomp on the chorus pedal on the addictive debut

On initial listens, instrumental opener, Purple Dreams no. 4, feels like a bit of a false start. At less than a minute long, it is meandering and, bluntly, feels a little unnecessary. It is emphasised even more when the sugar coated addictiveness of Grace Repasky’s melody kicks in on Peddler. But this is where Lunar Vacation set themselves apart: for all the brilliant pop moments and swooning slacker sensibilities, there’s a reflective side that is just as important as the bountiful choruses – yes, live with it a little while, and it starts to make sense as Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp takes a hold.

Perhaps the most immediate cut  – of which there are plenty – is the instant classic, Shrug, and it comes alive with its delightful ‘girl group’ harmonies. But music can mean so much to us all in so many different ways. And to a songwriter, their words can often only start to make sense when looking back. So having come to them at a time when gender and the questions of identity were clearly on their mind, Shrug marks an important moment for Repasky, as they start to answer their own questions in their process of identifying as a non-binary person. And Shrug is just one example of there being more to Lunar Vacation than we come to realise on a first encounter.

In so many ways, Inside Every Fig… could be the sister record to Wednesday’s Twin Plagues, as Repasky sows her bildungsroman tales of growing up in the Southern states. But guitarist, Maggie Geeslin, swaps distortion for the stomp of a chorus pedal on the brilliant single, Mold. It is also in the nooks and crannies of the record where the chiming guitars take ahold in a different way. Like the opener, the second half of The Waiting Game is vocal less – but akin to late-era The Strokes, its duelling counter melodies are patient, and provide space – working as the perfect interlude to Repasky’s pop hooks.

No false starts here – following up on the promise of their early, self released EPs, Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp is one of the most intriguing and exciting debuts of 2021.

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