Album Review: The Vaccines – ‘Combat Sport’
It’s been three years since The Vaccines have graced our ears with some new tunes, but Combat Sport has proven that good things do indeed come to those who wait.
With each of the five pre-released tracks giving off slightly different vibes, it was clear from the get go that this album would have something to tickle everyone’s taste buds. Combat Sport ventures into the world of “polished 70s and 80s rock”, resulting in an upbeat sound not usually heard from The Vaccines.
This is the English band’s first album since drummer Pete Robertson left in 2016, so perhaps the promotion of touring keyboardist Timothy Lanham and touring drummer Yoann Intonti to permanent band members can explain the experimental new sound. Regardless, Combat Sport is loaded with good tunes for good times.
One of the first pre-released singles from the album, ‘I Can’t Quit’, is a highlight, and is quickly becoming one of their most played singles on Spotify. It has The Vaccines’ traditional indie-rock sound we all came to love when they first emerged back in 2010. The combination of pop-like vocals and lively guitar riffs really make you want to jump and dance around the living room.
The cheery vocals and lively synthesiser of ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ create an animated pop sound previously unheard of from The Vaccines. On the flipside, ‘Surfing In The Sky’ kicks in immediately with incredibly fast-paced drum beats that set the pace for the rest of the tune. Electric and energetic guitar riffs join to make this an unquestionable banger.
‘Young American’ is the album’s slowest track and overall one of the band’s slowest track to date. The melodic guitar alongside a soothing synthesiser allows listeners to take some deep breathes and regroup before diving headfirst back into some grungy rock.
Following is ‘Nightclub’, another top track of the album, and this one is a wild ride from start to finish. It immediately opens with pulsating drums and powerful guitar riffs that gives off an almost psychedelic vibe. The chorus is erratic, with a brutal thumping beat and shouting vocals that really does make your “head feel like a nightclub”, as lead singer Justin Hayward-Young so eloquently puts it.
‘Out On The Street’, ‘Take It Easy’ and ‘Someone To Lose’ each utilise rhythmic guitars and vocal harmonies to create a sweet ecstatic sound, although the first is much faster and more unorthodox than the other two.
It finishes off with ‘Rolling Stones’, in which the synthesiser creates an almost gothic undertone. The intense crescendo of drums and guitar alludes to a big drop that’s on its way, but The Vaccines do the opposite by quietening down for a moment before picking up the tempo again.
Most of The Vaccines’ 2018 will be spent touring around Europe and the US, but fingers crossed they’re kind enough to head down under within the next year or so. In the meantime, give Combat Sport a couple more spins to tide you over.