Still possessing the immediacy they’ve always evoked, The Vaccines build a world to dive into on ‘Back In Love City’. On 2018’s ‘Combat Sports’, the group went back to basics with their expanded line-up. Here, they ramp up the bombast, from the concept – which imagines a fictional city where love and emotions are a fruitful commodity – to the sheer energy that rarely lets up across its 13 tracks. The riff-heavy ‘Wanderlust’ is an irresistible glam-stomper, ‘Jump Off The Top’ is the sort of fun throwaway The Vaccines have become so well attuned to writing. Justin played with the lyrical form in side-project Halloweens and brings its teachings into the frame of this record. “I drink to drown my sorrows / but they always learn to swim,” he sings on the title track. Freddie Cowan’s guitar-play spiders like a one-man Morricone soundtracking a space-age Western on highlight ‘Paranormal Romance’ which explodes with a synthesised choir and galloping drum pattern. There’s room for experimentation too, ‘XCT’ features a heavy slithering synth-bass and the ‘Peoples Republic Of Desire’ dials Justin’s voice to that space between singing and screaming. The Vaccines allow their unashamed love for pop to soar on ‘Back In Love City’. Against Justin’s increasingly interesting way with words, it feels like the purest Vaccines album yet.
As featured in the September 2021 issue of DIY, out now. Scroll down to get your copy.
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