Review: The Vamps Aim to Breakthrough Stateside on 'Somebody To You' EP
Remember that time that Diddy said something to the effect that 'Bad Boy(s) don’t stop?' Well, in the case of the latest pop-band signing, YouTube don’t stop. British band The Vamps are the latest new discovery via the supremely popular video site and like their colleagues, The Vamps release the ‘EP’ before dropping their ‘full length’ debut stateside.
You can’t knock the business though the final product has is ups and its downs.
“Somebody To You” opens the EP exceptionally, setting the tone for the effort and gaining the attention of the listener. It doesn’t hurt to have one of pop’s ‘bigger’ voices guesting on the track, Demi Lovato. “Somebody To You” has plenty of pros working in its favor, including a catchy, enthusiastic chorus, as well as the iterations of the infectious phrase, “yeah you!” A well-produced record “Somebody To You” is a strong first impression.
“Wild Heart” opens with rhythmic acoustic guitars, creating a folk-driven sound. Soon enough on the refrain, the full ‘rhythmic machine’ is going. The folk and pop combination works surprisingly well, considering the youthfulness of The Vamps. Again, the chorus truly makes this song, inviting the listener in. Another strong suit of “Wild Heart?” is the vocal production, particularly during the break section towards the end where the vocals are gargantuan in size.
“Midnight Memories” will be familiar to the audience who are likely to be fans of the band, however, it almost feels too soon for this One Direction hit to be ‘covered’ by anyone, particularly and up-and-coming band. Being honest, hearing the familiar riffs sort of was a turnoff. As far as the performance, it is solid, though there is a lack of a distinct persona here. It feels like The Vamps are providing the minimal rather than truly showing off their potential. One pro, however, is the band shows their stylistic versatility.
“Move My Way” features sound acoustic guitar accompanying the band’s voices. During the chorus, unsurprisingly, the sound grows tremendously, with the production filled out. The record is a pleasant one, with solid vocals, though by no means could it be described as ‘groundbreaking’ or innovative. But, considering this is an EP, this serves as an introduction and a preview of what is to come. In that regard, “Move My Way” meets expectations.
Closing track “She Looks So Perfect” squashes the notion that “Midnight Memories” is being covered too soon – geez. The thing is, there are two sides to covering such a contemporary song by a new, breakthrough band (5 Seconds of Summer). On the positive side of things, covering a popular, familiar song could build more buzz around the new band (in this case the Vamps).
On the negative side, “She Looks So Perfect” as covered by The Vamps isn’t nearly as magical as the original, and because the cover doesn’t come close to matching 5SOS’s version, which is still pretty new itself, arguably The Vamps miss an opportunity. Why not include a hot, brand new joint that isn’t already being buzzed about?
How does the Somebody To You EP stack up? Well, it is indeed an EP, with all the pitfalls that goes along with a mini-album. Positively, The Vamps show their potential, particularly on the first two songs “Somebody to You” and “Wild Heart.” On the not-so-positive side, the covers fall short of the originals (unsurprisingly) and don’t distinguish The Vamps as a band with its own personality. As a whole, hence, Somebody To You lacks cohesion – it’s about ‘records’ and not one unified end product.
That verdict isn’t ‘the end of the world’ considering this is an EP and there will be plenty of young girls who will eat this effort up, not to mention the band’s forthcoming full-length. But as it is, Somebody To You needs more finesse.
Favorites: “Somebody To You” and “Wild Heart”
The Vamps • Somebody To You EP • Island • US Release Date: August 5, 2014