British pop rock band The Vamps makes a bright first impression with their debut Meet The Vamps.
The bar must be set somewhere in the stratosphere after these boys struck up three consecutive UK Top 3 singles, but if the tracks on their eagerly anticipated album are anything to go by, The Vamps could well do us another three.
Meet the boys of The Vamps: Brad Simpson (lead singer and guitarist with Harry Styles hair), James McVey (lead guitarist and, I guess, second lead vocalist), Connor Ball (bass guitarist) and Tristan Evans (drummer).
We all know the importance of establishing individual quirks and personalities in pop groups, so until that becomes apparent, they all simply look like River Island models to me.
As far as solid debut pop albums go, The Vamps sits right on the money.
Like a firm handshake, Meet The Vamps greets you with confidence. It is instantly likeable and it gives you a clear idea of the kind of music they make, which is bright, guitar-driven pop delivered with cheek and tenderness.
There are firm nods to One Direction‘s style of radio-ready pop, especially on raucous party tunes like ‘Last Night’ and ‘Somebody to You’, which were written and produced by 1D’s hitmakers.
However, the boys go twice as hard to make their mark on their debut by co-writing 12 tracks on the album.
‘Wild Heart’, The Vamps‘ second single, gives us a warm country pop twist with banjos and mandolins on the track.
They do it so well, a part of me wishes there were more folkier tones on the album. I mean, it would definitely work in their favour when pitching to the American market.
Watch the music video for The Vamps‘ ‘Wild Heart’:
‘Can We Dance’ (co-written by Bruno Mars) is still one of the most captivating boy band singles I’ve heard in awhile.
I like that it presents a slick-talking bad boy character with surprising levels of vulnerability beneath a drunken bravado.
“I talk a lot of sh*t when I’m drinking, baby. I’m known to go a little too fast. Don’t mind all my friends I know they’re all crazy but they’re the only friends that I have.”
Watch The Vamps‘ video for ‘Can We Dance’:
Potential single ‘Girls on TV’ is very beach party in Honolulu with summery guitar strums and a chorus cheesier than a mozzarella wheel (“She got legs like Beyoncé! Give me the eye like Rihanna! I wanna put her on came-rah!”).
Elsewhere, the teen heartthrobs show they’re just at ease doing stripped back ballads.
‘Shout About It’ is a tender, soft-lit acoustic ballad co-written with Matt Prime (who has penned for Jake Bugg and Olly Murs). It sounds like a proper slow dance number for a high school prom.
The sweetness continues with ‘High Hopes’ (co-written with McFly‘s Dougy, Tom and Danny), a twee love song with sights set on something long-term.
“I can move in with you. We can get married too, go on our honeymoon but maybe we should finish this coffee first. I got high hopes for me and you. When we grow old, I’ll say ‘I told you so’…”
It is quite apt that the album is titled Meet The Vamps because it just is that – an introduction. It’s a terrific and polished debut pop album that is already taking off with a lot of fans, if the #2 UK chart debut is anything to go by.
Hopefully by the next album, The Vamps will be leading with something that is a little more progressive than loud, foot-stomping party records.
What they really need now is a classic pop record that is distinctly theirs.