The Travoltas – Endless Summer

The Travoltas
Endless Summer

Imagine if you will that the boys of Blink 182 are on tour somewhere when their plane crashes on a secluded island in the middle of the ocean. Suddenly there is nothing left but the three guys and the collection of Beach Boys albums one of their crew members was bringing along on the trip. Miraculously, the stereo of the plane is the only part of it that is still able to function, and so the boys spend the next few days until their rescue doing nothing but listening to the Beach Boys and jamming on the few instruments salvaged from the wreckage scattered on the beach. When they got home, the band went into the studio and recorded this new creation. So, what is the point? The point is that such a record would sound a great deal like the Travoltas.
Aside from the occasional pop-punk burst, such as the opening “One for the Road,” Endless Summer consists of an endlessly similar string of mid-tempo power-pop songs. There’s a bit of a gritty punk edge, courtesy of the crunchy guitar chords and the tight and quick drum work, but this is kept on a tight leash by the heavy influence of 60s beach pop. The swirling synthesizers and cutesy vocal harmonies make you want to throw on your swimming trunks, grab a surfboard, and hit the beach. At the same time, if you listen too much, it makes you want to yank the disc from your stereo, throw it on the ground, and jump up and down on it. Take a listen to “Liv Tyler” and you’ll find out precisely what this means, when the band runs out of words towards the end and just mumbles “Liv, Liv, Liv, Liv…” over and over and over. The problem is that the poppier elements are slightly overbearing, and the slick production shines the spotlight directly on them, making each piece virtually inescapable. Things just get goofy beyond repair, with songs about lusting after Liv Tyler, having your heart broken, growing up, touring with the band, having your heart broken again, getting stabbed by your girlfriend, having your heart broken yet again, and so on. There are highlights, like the undeniably infectious “You and Me” and the dark surf vibe of “Norwegian Girl,” but these scarce pleasant moments are outweighed by the more nauseating ones.
Hailing from the Netherlands and already sporting a handful of releases under their belt, the Travoltas are looking to spread out and make an impression beyond their homeland. The problem with such a plan is that, although the songs are catchy enough and well played, they seem to have a lifespan of about one or two listens. How many times can you hear lines like “I was wondering what you were doing Friday night / We can make out under the stars and see them shine / Because I’m sure you are the one” and not feel like your brain is being numbed? If you’re looking for a mindless party soundtrack that won’t upset you when someone spills a drink on it, the new Travoltas’ record comes with a stamp of approval. But if you’re looking for something you’ll want to hear more than once and might stick around your music collection for a while, just keep moving.