I’ve had a love/hate relationship with The Vaccines over the years, but beyond their debut ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ I’ve not particularly liked anything since. Releasing their latest album ‘Combat Sports‘ earlier this year I thought it was high-time to finally listen to a full release from The Vaccines from the band. However, did it live up to my hopeful expectations? No, unfortunately not at all.
Although the standard indie-pop tracks with catchy riffs are there as well as the few singles which would go down well live, there’s something lacking and uninspired about ‘Combat Sports’. ‘Put It On A T-Shirt‘ is charming, but overstays its welcome and ‘I Can’t Quit‘ is try-hard but fails, however it is danceable. The more ballad-like, lullaby of a track ‘Young American‘ is one of the only tracks which switches things up a bit, but by slowing it down.
‘Surfing In The Sky‘ is one of the more concise tracks, it still lacks imagination and I probably wouldn’t listen to it again, but it’s one of the only tracks on ‘Combat Sports’ that doesn’t get monotonous. The choruses in ‘Maybe (Luck of the Draw)‘ echo this with the more pop-y vocal delivery. The first thing that came to mind is that they’re reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys in a roundabout way.
‘Combat Sports’ comes up short and is just another album trying to fill a non-existent stereotypical indie/guitar rock void without actually adding anything new. Where there are good tracks such as ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band‘, they’re ruined by filler making them last forever. It’s not all bad though, ‘Nightclub‘ is actually a good track full of energy and angst even if I have got Blondie’s ‘One Way or Another’ in my head after listening to it…