Combat Sports

The Vaccines - Combat Sports
Critic Score
Based on 13 reviews
2018 Ratings: #418 / 719
User Score
Based on 124 ratings
2018 Ratings: #524
March 30, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Columbia / Label
Indie Rock / Genres
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thevaccines.com / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
The Line of Best Fit

An accomplished effort on which a back to basics approach has allowed them to hit their stride once more, Combat Sports reaffirms The Vaccines as one of the most exciting British bands around - and one absolutely still worth pestering friends about.

83
A.V. Club

On their excellent fourth album, Combat Sports, The Vaccines fall back into a familiar groove: exuberant, no-frills indie rock suitable for the dance floor and headlining festival slots.

80
NME
The result is a fourth album both back-to-basics in a Ramone-next-door sort of way, but with renewed purpose and attitude, and eyeing new paths of punk-rock progress.
80
The Independent

There’s been a sudden rush of comebacks by former “saviours of rock 'n' roll” lately, but most of them have struggled to find a foothold; The Vaccines and their new album Combat Sports might just be able to buck that trend.

80
DIY
‘Combat Sports’ is neither sequel nor faithful reboot. It might harness the energy of the band’s 2011 debut, ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ in the throbbing, furious ‘I Can’t Quit’ and ‘Nightclub’, but its also far smoother and smarter than they’ve ever been.
80
The Guardian
It all adds up to their best album yet.
79
Paste

They’re not doing anything new (as they said themselves with the title of their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?), but there’s something about infectious melodies, sticky guitar riffs and relationship observations being made by an aloof Englishman that never gets old either.

70
Drowned in Sound

The Vaccines may not be reinventing themselves on the wider scale, and though self-awareness may not be enough to save it ... digestible indie-pop is what they are good at, even if it doesn’t make as large a dent in the canon of new, more progressive music.

70
musicOMH

Combat Sports is certainly no return to The Vaccines’ early surf-punk sound, but it does reinvigorate their indie-major rock credentials with its more muscular guitar edge and stronger backbeat in what is still a pretty polished production by Ross Orton.

70
PopMatters

Some bands experiment with broadening their sound, and it just doesn't work. It worked for the Vaccines, and in that context, a reactionary record like Combat Sports is something of a disappointment. But it's a super-fun one.

60
Northern Transmissions
The primal appeal of yore feels watered down, meaning deadly combinations are in fact feeble jams and don’t deliver knockouts like you’d hope for when it comes to the Vaccines ‘getting back to their roots’.
60
AllMusic

Combat Sports is best when it trades upon such retro obsessions as new wave and disco ... and it's less successful when it returns to the neo-rock obsessions that have been the group's stock in trade since their inception.

40
FLOOD Magazine

It is ... despite its energy, more than occasionally boring.

liammenzies
55
Easily the band’s weakest effort to date, Combat Sports lacks the goofy, entertaining nature of English Grafiti or the knack for crafting good indie rock tunes that their first two albums had.
RKanharn
84
The Vaccines produce an incredible collection of indie rock hits both those high, upbeat tracks like "I Can't Quit" and "Nightclub", as well as more down beat songs focusing more on the lyrics such as on "Your Love Is My Favourite Band".

The only song I wasn't a fan of on the album was Young American, which just doesn't seem to fit in the album and although I have given the album a few listens, this is the only song I don't recognise at all.
distraughtonaut
75
Combat Sports is nothing amazing, and nothing you haven't heard a hundred times before, but it still has some charm and gives you some nostalgia for how these types of songs and albums used to be. Most of the songs sound like a broken record after a couple of listens, but I feel there are a couple of gems on here that make it worth while.

Favs: Out on the Street, Young American
chlorine
70
put it on a t-shirt ★★★
i can't quit ★★★★★
your love is my favourite band ★★★★★
surfing in the sky ★★½
maybe (luck of the draw) ★★★
young american ★★★★
nightclub ★★★
out on the street ★
take it easy ★★★★½
someone to lose ★★★★
rolling stones ★★★★
Edgeworth
90
This is the album we deserved, after an okay-ish English Graffiti, Combat Sports rewards us what we need. Fast paced rock and an energetic atmosphere. It's the groove that The Vaccines cherish and Combat Sports is a definite pick up.
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END OF YEAR LISTS

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Track List

  1. Put It On a T-Shirt
  2. I Can't Quit
  3. Your Love Is My Favourite Band
  4. Surfing in the Sky
  5. Maybe (Luck of the Draw)
  6. Young American
  7. Nightclub
  8. Out On the Street
  9. Take It Easy
  10. Someone to Lose
  11. Rolling Stones
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Added on: November 22, 2017