Made up of Brad Simpson, James McVey, Tristan Evans and Connor Ball, The Vamps have proved with their new album Cherry Blossom that they aren’t just another boyband for the world to ridicule.
From the offset the band’s intentions are clear; the first track ‘Glory Days’ provides a reminiscent anthem, with poignant lyrics about living in the moment. The band recalled how writing this album was almost like therapy for them. In a world where artists release track after track without a second to breathe, they realised the need for a collective break, taking a step back and focusing on the writing.
The first single ‘Married In Vegas’ set the record straight for the band’s rebirth; while there are some similarities from their first album, with the upbeat anthemic sound still present, it’s clear that they have grown away from their younger sound.
‘Better’, one of the three singles from the album, also sees the band stay true to their pop roots, with an added layer of maturity. The song is almost conversational, with lyrics such as “Did things get better? Or did we get used to it?” as Simpson tries to remove himself from a negative state of mind.
Completing the trio of singles is ‘Chemicals’; it’s grittier than anything we’ve heard from The Vamps, as they continue to break the boyband mould. It truly defies what may have been expected of The Vamps’ new sound.
‘Would You’ follows on from the vibrant sound of the album’s three singles. The album stands out for its sheer fluidity, each song seems to carry on from the next. The following track ‘Bitter’ is a welcome departure from their younger sound, there’s a soulful feel to it. The track contrasts with ‘Better’, highlighting the rollercoaster that is a modern day relationship. ‘Part of Me’ has some similarities to songs from the band’s previous album Night & Day, with the signature upbeat pop tempo The Vamps fans know and love.
Switching the mood of the album completely, ‘Protocol’ offers up nothing but vulnerability; the lyrics are poignant and the song itself is mellower than any of the other tracks on the album. Whilst the tempo itself is soft, the lyrics are raw and emotive: “A future of stories, adventures, and journeys, on fire and falling apart.”
The penultimate song on the album ‘Nothing But You’ returns to the feel good energy conveyed throughout the rest of the record. Simpson defined it as, “that feeling of falling in love and going like, ‘You can take from me everything that you want.’”
The album ends on a restful track ‘Treading Water’, and once again the emotional stakes are there. If this album proves anything it’s that the band are receptive to being more open lyrically, a welcomed sign of maturity in a musician. On writing the final track, Simpson explained that it felt right to end the album with ‘Treading Water’, as while he may be searching for something in particular the song ends on a positive note; ‘First, I really gotta work on me’, completing the cycle and bringing it back to the energy of the first track ‘Glory Days’.
The days of manufactured boyband stereotypes are well and truly over for The Vamps. These are their ‘Glory Days’.
Words By Grace Nicholls
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