OK, you think, here comes another A-F Records release, so it's bound to be a political punk band following in the footsteps of Thought Riot, The Code and Anti-Flag themselves. But unless you were thinking of, say, dance-floor politics, you'd be wrong.
The Vacancy purveys a muscular, melodic pop-punk sound, but rather than serve the cause of anti-globalism, they'd rather feel up a girl in their dad's Suburban. Between the Ted Leo-meets-Weezer anthems (including one called "Anthem," which is very reminiscent of "Say It Ain't So"), frontman/guitarist Ben Dietels wields a powerful, charismatic voice, while many of the lyrics delve into the heart-rending, hope-bursting vein. Even so, the music itself is very straight-ahead and not reminiscent of the twists and turns of your average emo band.
Overall, though commendably produced by Mass Giorgini, the Vacancy's Warped Tour tuneage doesn't really stand out from the pack of groups following the MTV bandwagon of Carson Daly compadres. I could easily see The Vacancy being rotated on The X, and showing up on MTV2 as the new flavor-of-the-week.
I can't imagine the gents from Anti-Flag holding meetings to calculate the potential success level of The Vacancy before signing them, but the fact remains that they're the most accessible band yet to emerge on A-F. So look for possible big things from these guys, even if they have no intention of changing the face of music as we know it.