Combat Sports, indie-rockers The Vaccine’s first full-length offering since 2015’s English Graffiti, is, quite simply, them at their Vaccines-y best. It might not exactly be pushing the boundaries of music or introducing anything new, but the record is filled with summery tunes that sooner or later you’ll be belting out in a field, surrounded by your mates, can of Dark Fruits in hand. It’s what The Vaccines do best, and it’s a certainly a welcome return for the London-based four-piece.
With instantly catchy songs that are just begging to be sung along to – ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’, with its somewhat repetitive lyrics really exemplifies this – it’s a return to the indie anthems of summers past; think of those parties soundtracked by the likes of The Wombats, Circa Waves, and The Maccabees, and you’ve about got the vibe of this record down. The Vaccines know their sound, and stay true to it. ‘Young American’ (no, not the David Bowie track) provides an interlude of acoustic guitar and romantic lyrics that nicely changes the mood, without detracting from what makes them The Vaccines. And you know what makes The Vaccines, The Vaccines? Tracks like ‘Nightclub’, which for me is the standout track of the album. I’m listening to it as I write this and I’m bopping along – it’s one of those instantly classic indie bangers, and is well deserving of that accolade. ‘Out On The Street’ is another such track, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s when The Vaccines go slightly heavier and focus more on the ‘rock’ part of ‘indie-rock’ that produces their best tracks, but that doesn’t negate the success of tunes like ‘Someone To Lose’, that truly show British indie at its best.
Groundbreaking it ain’t, but it’s The Vaccines doing what they know they do best, and it pays off. Expect to be singing along to ‘I Can’t Quit’ very soon in one of the many festival fields The Vaccines are playing this summer – it’s what the songs are made for.
By: Phoebe Hagan