erasing clouds

Winter Vacation, The Netherlands, 1970

reviewed by dave heaton

What if we're all on a ski slope / I can close my eyes...

With an album called The Netherlands, 1970, by a group called Winter Vacation, you might expect a musical postcard, evoking all of the feelings and stories of travel. In a way that's what you'll get - with names like "The Alps" and "Denver Diner," these 14 songs perfectly conjure up a variety of locations, with emotions to go along with them. Traveling is, of course, an act of emotional transportation as much as physical movement, and that's evident here. David Yourdon (also of The Pathways), who wrote, performed, and recorded these songs, sings in a voice that yearns in a friendly way for new adventures, while also hinting at the disappointment that's always a part of traveling.

The thing is...the more I listen the more it's obvious that Yourdon may not have gone to a single one of these places. Songs that at first seem perfectly descriptive of places you might have been seem more like fables each time you listen. Is he travelling through the air or sitting on his bed, looking at a map and dreaming about all the places he could go (and going to them, through his songs). Wait, what's that he's singing? "We ran our fingers down the cities on the page / how were we to realize / at the greenest age?"

Think of what you want a pop song to be, and it's probably here. Touching? Catchy? Playful? Sad? Hummable? Beautiful? Check, check, check, check, check and check. Do you like dreamy atmospheres floating gently in the shadows of stripped-down melodic pop songs with homemade percussion and guitars that tilt towards '60s rock? Here you go. This is one person creating songs from his heart, putting them on a CD, giving them to a label that loves to help feed artistic expression by creating and spreading around inexpensive, handmade CD-Rs. What could be better than that? These songs stand miles away from what corporate america's trying to sell you as 'music', and they will mean so much more to you. {Check out the Asaurus website and the Winter Vacation website too.}

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