Album Review: Photo Ops' 'Vacation'

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By Jake Valentine

Terry Price goes under the moniker Photo Ops, an acoustic project that just released sophomore album “Vacation.”JT

“Vacation” is a deep and personal record.

The lead single “I’d Be Dead” details his father’s struggle with schizophrenia and mental disorders, who then died from a heart attack in 2011.JT

The song is essentially a heartfelt letter to all of those who supported him through this tough time, as Price said in an interview with Consequence Of Sound in December.

Throughout the track, Price repeats the lyrics “I’d be dead if I didn’t have you,”JT which is accompanied by the light sound of an acoustic guitar and tambourine, sprinkled in with the occasional playing of a beautiful piano.

The focus of this song is primarily on the voice of Price and his words, but the instrumentals provide a simple, yet full sound that makes “I’d Be Dead” one of the highlight songs for this album.

After a few listens through “Vacation,” I began to feel as if I was reading Price’s diary. All of the songs are extremely emotional as the listener gets an in-depth look into the life of Price and his struggles. In one of the best tracks on the record, “To Move On,”JT we listen to Price document his inability to let go of his past.

“Hey doctor, is it okay if I just simply move on?” is a line we hear Price cry out at the top of his lungs. Following this verse, Price continues to detail his fight with accepting the present and forgetting the past.

All 10 tracks flow together in a calm manner that never feels dull or overwhelming, just relaxed and refined. Price implements multiple instruments throughout a majority of the albums’ choruses to create a rich and atmospheric sound in full. This is an impressive feat, considering that Photo Ops is a one-man band.

Price’s voice is nothing extraordinary, but it works exceptionally well with the style of music that Photo Ops creates. His mellow and suave tone shines on tracks like “Kathleen” and “Once Around the Town Square”JT — two songs that tell us about Price and his complicated love life. “Once Around the Town Square” is a delicate and beautiful song, where we hear Price recall pleasant memories of love, “I kissed you at the park, our friends cheered us on.”

“Maybe We’ll Change”JT is a song that comes right in the middle of the record, and possibly the best song of all. With a soft drum beat that rolls on and on throughout the song, combined with the fast-paced strokes of Price’s ukulele, “Maybe We’ll Change” is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album.

Price’s voice stands out on “Maybe We’ll Change” more than all of the other songs off this record, it’s simple, yet beautiful. This voice is accompanied by soft back-up vocals in a chorus that’ll be stuck in your head after a few listens.

All in all, “Vacation” is an enjoyable and easy listening record. Obviously some songs are stronger than others, but it’s tough to pinpoint a bad song on this record.

Every song fits together in a fluid manner, and I never felt the urge to press skip while listening.

“Vacation” is a perfect record for a Sunday spent doing homework or just relaxing on the couch.

Rating: 8/10

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