Editorial Note: This review looked at the international deluxe edition of Meet the Vamps. The US edition has a different track order, features Demi Lovato on “Somebody to You” and Shawn Mendes on “Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart)”, as well as the addition of the song “Hurricane.”
Meet the Vamps sounds like a Train album — that is if Train was made up of four 18-year-old boys. While the deluxe edition of The Vamps’ debut album becomes tiresome after the 10th track, the band doesn’t sound like their peers (One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer), which is a good sign. It’s a teen-pop bad that already shows the potential for longevity.
Because the band members are so young, it makes sense that their songs are heavily influenced by the moment. Fortunately, this means American Authors rhythms and Meghan Trainor’s love for the ukulele and not-so random forays into EDM.
Despite the band members being around the same age as One Direction’s and 5 Seconds of Summer’s, The Vamps aren’t as fun because they try to sound older than they are and forget to have fun in the process. On “Wild Heart,” the band sounds like Maroon 5. “Last Night” has the boys wondering “what the hell happened last night,” but they don’t sound like they had fun at the crazy party. “Somebody to You,” which features an unnecessary appearance from Demi Lovato on the US edition of Meet the Vamps, shows the boys getting sentimental over that special girl.
The majority of the songs on Meet the Vamps blend together. They start of with interesting ideas, but then the band goes into their typical Train-influenced pop-rock. At their worst, we get “Can We Dance,” “Shout About It,” and “High Hopes.” The first two songs have shouty vocals and the lead singer belting out notes at the wrong moment. “High Hopes” starts off as one song and then the chorus doesn’t match the rest of the verses. On the other end of the scale, the boys give us “Smile” and “Golden,” which keep the bands trademark sound, but sound different enough that they should have made it onto the standard edition of the album.
Strangely, some of The Vamps best songs sound boyband-ish. “She Was the One” should be a single and sung with the crowd at every one of the bands concerts. There’s also “Dangerous,” which travels across familiar boyband territory: a boy torn between the good girl that treats him right and the band girl who provides him with a “darker love.”
At 15 track on the standard international edition, Meet the Vamps feels bloated. The US standard edition takes away three tracks and swaps out another and adds “Hurricane.” While the track listing on the US editions is more enjoyable, hardcore fans should import the international edition, which tracks The Vamps journey from YouTube cover band to actual band more accurately.
For those who aren’t keeping track of the current boybands, here is a rundown. One Direction is Britney. They make music, so that it will become popular. 5 Seconds of Summer is Christina. Their goal is to make the music that they like with the hopes that other people will follow their lead. The Vamps will probably end up being Mandy Moore. They’ll have a few hits, only be mentioned with the other two for the sake of completion, and then go on to make critically acclaimed music that doesn’t appeal to their initial fanbase.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Allison Lips is the Founder of Wait! What’s a Dial?, a television blog that showcases the writing of millennials. Allison graduated from Rowan University in May 2013. She has a passion for TV history, especially late night and game shows. If she could go back in time, Steve Allen would still be hosting The Tonight Show. Follow her on Twitter @waitwaitsadial.