It’s a big day for Atlanta-based rock quartet Lunar Vacation, who’ve signed to Austin-based indie label Keeled Scales (Secretly Distribution) with plans to release their debut album later this year. To celebrate, they’ve shared a new single and video, the sunny, yet circumspect “Shrug.”
Though its title may evoke apathy, “Shrug” is more about growing beyond a simplistic, black-and-white perspective. “I look back now and realize that this song was a pivotal moment in delving into self-identity and ultimately identifying as a non-binary person,” says songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Grace Repasky in a statement. “The more I tried to fit into a box, the more I felt out of place. Reconstructing thinking patterns and unlearning a binary outlook is a lifelong journey, and I think ‘Shrug’ is a documented beginning for me.”
Produced by Daniel Gleason of Grouplove, “Shrug” is cleverly built on a binary guitar progression, sliding back and forth between two woozy chords in its verses, only to grow more complex in its choruses. Repasky’s plucky vocals lend the song a light heart, even as they recall being “Invited but I’ll never show / Sit at home and playing too much Wilco,” and their ease in concluding, “Good or bad, it’s hard to say,” is uplifting and empowering, depicting uncertainty not as something to be afraid of, but as something to embrace. When Repasky sings in its closing moments, “Why don’t you get up and shrug it off?” the song feels less like a shrug and more like a heartening pat on the back.
The “Shrug” video is equal to the track in its sunny charm, with a blend of home video-style footage of the band shot by Violet Teegardin and quirky hand-drawn animation by John Andrews.
Repasky and their fellow songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Maggie Geeslin are old friends who co-founded Lunar Vacation when they were barely old enough to drive. The duo later became a quartet by adding Matteo DeLurgio (synth) and Connor Dowd (drums), and self-released a pair of EPs, 2017’s Swell and 2018’s Artificial Flavors, which kickstarted their buzz. We’ll be eagerly anticipating their full-length debut.
Watch the “Shrug” video and revisit Lunar Vacation’s 2019 Paste session below.