The Vaccines - Combat Sports
Star Rating: 4.5/5
Combat Sports is British indie rockers The Vaccine's 2018 effort, and it doesn't fail to impress. It's the closest they've gotten to recreating the magic of their debut. Lead vocalist and songwriter Justin Hayward-Young is letting the world know that he just writes great songs. The Vaccines have a simple agenda: each song should be iconic, independent of the tracks it is surrounded by. The album has 11 tracks, and it feels like the perfect length. It has a few hits and singles, but altogether it will make you smile from start to finish.
Top Tracks & Album Takeaways
This reviewer's favorite track of the album is "Surfing In The Sky", a high powered and quick-witted love song that plays through the circle of fifths with speed and deft ability. Bonus points for those highly compressed guitar solos that we've come to love from the band. Hayward-Young shout sings the line, "to keep you out of reach of every other guy, I will take you surfing in the sky".
The most radio-friendly single is "Maybe (Luck of the Draw)", which received ample radio time, and is by far the most recognizable of the tracks.
Other notable songs from the record include "I Can't Quit", "Out on the Street", and "Young American". It may seem like only a few songs were left out, which is true. But you should hear those ones, too. Basically, the album hits the spot. Any indie rock fan would be lying to themselves if they couldn't find a song they like on this record.
What we liked
The sound the band went for this album definitely seemed more '80s than previous releases. The production quality is also very pop, which is a new territory for The Vaccines. Only a few places give you the hint that they are a top British garage/indie band. They're well known in the scene, and this album boosts their reputation rather than the other way around. As far as 2018 releases go, Combat Sports holds its own.
Not so much...
The opening track "Put it on a T-Shirt" has lyrics that feel overwrought, dripping with played out sarcasm. The music doesn't offend, but it feels like it was written after the fact to open the album and describe the less than impressive artwork. The band could have chosen something more interesting.
Videos and Singles
I Can't Quit
Your Love is my Favourite Band (Live Session)
Overall this release is very solid, and as a fourth record, it seals The Vaccines' fate as a band that is absolutely capable of producing a fifth. Here at Demo Digger we award them 4.5 stars for an absolutely indelible next chapter in their journey. Keep rockin' guys!
Put It on a T-Shirt
I Can't Quit
Your Love Is My Favourite Band
Surfing in the Sky
Maybe (Luck of the Draw)
Out on the Street
Take It Easy
Someone to Lose