After a three-year hiatus, The Vaccines have said goodbye to their alternative rock roots and have made a striking entrance into the indie dance scene with their most diverse and energetic album to date, “Combat Sports.” After their third album, “English Graffiti,” flopped on the charts in 2015, the U.K band has steered away from their harsh indistinguishable instrumentals and redundant lyrics that once filled their albums and have taken the time to completely reinvent their sound.
After drummer Pete Robinson left the band in 2016, the remaining members, lead singer Justin Young and guitarists Freddie Cowan and Arni Arnason, decided to push the boundaries resulting in their latest album. “Combat Sports” is filled with catchy lyrics, upbeat guitar riffs and electronic beats creating feelings of nostalgia and euphoria. Taking a similar direction as other alt-rock indie bands such as Fitz and the Tantrums and Cage the Elephant, The Vaccines have created an album filled with dance anthems about love and sex targeted to a new fan base, rather than the alternative scene they were once a part of. Each song on this album holds its own thanks to the help of producer Ross Orton, who produced Arctic Monkeys’ most successful album, “AM.”
You can hear Orton’s influence on standout tracks such as “Young American” and “Out on the Street.” In the track “Young American,” Young slows things down and expresses the emotions you feel when infatuated with someone. Stand out lyrics include, “Pull me into orbit with your hands / Then show me where you wanted me to land / Take me to the birth mark on your arm / And let me live forever in your palm.”
Fans of their previous work may feel the band has sold out with tracks like “Your Love is my Favorite Band,” due to the drastically softer pop radio sound. Longtime fans may find the lyrics borderline bubblegum pop at times, but the originality and upbeat feelings the album brings to listeners is undeniable.
Longtime listeners will enjoy the tracks “Surfing in the Sky,” “Nightclub” and “Out on the Streets” for their high energy and the hints of the pop punk that The Vaccines originally became known for back in 2010.
“Combat Sports” is the comeback album The Vaccines very much needed, with something for everyone. The risk should pay off highly for the band who is beginning their tour in the U.K April 3 with two locations already sold out.