In the last 18 months since releasing their second album Wake Up, The Vamps have toured relentlessly across the globe, collaborated with the likes of Sabrina Carpenter, Mike Perry, Matoma and Martin Jensen and somehow managed to find time to write and record a new album. Night & Day (Night Edition) is the product of hard work, time management and the desire to create their best album to date. With the album already receiving its live debut on their recent Up Close & Personal Tour for which you can read our London review here, fans have already heard the live versions but as we all know the studio versions can be very very different. We thought we’d review the album based on our first few listens but we strongly encourage you to check it out for yourselves, links at the bottom.
Prior to the official release of the album, three singles have been released giving fans a taster of what to expect. Middle of The Night opens up the album with Brad’s vocals with a piano and building guitar backline, retaining power yet building up subtly to the explosive chorus with beat drops flying left, right and centre. This EDM collaboration with Martin Jensen is driven by a sharp, noticeable and prominent drum line which comes and goes to give the track the additional power as and when needed. All Night with over 3 million streams is the quartets most streamed track to date and honestly? It’s going to be one of our favourite The Vamps songs forever. Its memorable introduction sums up a lot of what The Vamps fans have done tonight ‘I’ve been up all night, no sleep’ because by the looks of Twitter they’ve all been awake tweeting #VampsNewAlbum constantly! These two tracks indicate a step in a more dance infused direction confirmed by their collaboration with Matoma on All Night yet still both features huge choruses which even when listening to through your headphones you can’t sit still for. In the trio of singles Hands might be the slowest by a teenie fraction but here drums take a new front seat merging in between the electro beats Mike Perry introduces and Sabrina Carpenters sultry vocals. From the onset of this album, the lyrical content has matured significantly from calling your ex to wanting to lay your hands on that special person indicating the quartet aren’t letting their fan base age hold them back.
But the fun really starts for everyone at track four, when we get to hear the studio versions of tracks we’ve only ever heard live before (a little different to what usually happens to say the least). Same To You has received a lot of love already from both the quartet and the fans, recorded in Sweden James McVey and Tristan Evans have openly hailed this as their favourite and it’s clear why. The opening sets the tone with a club vibed track with emotive vocals thrown into the mix. The Vamps have grown into their new sound with the guitars toned down, big drops, drums subtle yet strong but with a chorus sticking firmly in your head as the repetitive ‘does it feel the same to you?’ line. Evans plays an important role here as we find our attention drifting to the drum lines providing a literal heartbeat for this track.
Sound layering features heavily on this album in including Paper Hearts which got its first appearance on their Middle Of The Night tour earlier this year. From the drifting atmosphere set by the introduction, you’re carried away to a new place in your head kind of like a paper heart flying to that special person. Created in the hills of LA there’s a beautiful acoustic edge to this, it’s not complicated but that’s what it makes it such a special listening experience. Brad Simpson’s vocals vary in depth and power taking us on a twist and turn as our emotions go on a ride too. There’s a great use of backing vocals to support Simpson’s vocals adding a new depth to this singalong track. Midway through this album seems the right time to say quite frankly we had high expectations but this is already the strongest and most slick material we’ve heard from The Vamps during their career.
Taking things away from the slightly reserved acoustic sounding tracks is the upbeat party vibe affairs of Shades On and It’s A Lie. Since hearing Shades On live earlier this year we’ve been hooked on this infectious dance track and the studio version hasn’t let us down. We’re transported to a club in Barbados where we instantly feel cooler, sassier and ready to take on the world. Use of sound effects here adds to the cheeky tone of the track which is carried through in the lyrics ‘ooh boy look at that ass, ooh boy look at that ass, get your eyes up to my face cos I see right through your shades!’. Stealing the crown for the catchiest track on the album it’s impossible to not be impressed that the band who wrote the emotive Same To You earlier on have switched to this number where you can’t just sit and listen without dancing. It’s A Lie featuring Tini Stoessel is another different track with a Spanish vibe to it due to which we’re expecting some big huge slap in the face moment to come out of nowhere. But it just doesn’t come, the catchy back line is hard to not tap along to but it just feels a bit dull vs the other tracks on the album which have completely outshone this one. It might be a grower over time but for now, we’d rather skip to another bop.
In 2016 The Vamps fan base got introduced to Stay during their Wake Up World Tour, here Brad was the centre of attention and once again the focus remains nearly solely on him and his emotion infused vocals. There’s a really simple yet effective guitar and drum line to complement the passionate lyrics ‘We can hide under the duvet, time will have to wait, you can wear my favourite t-shirt, we can waste away the day. Only if you stay‘. Don’t worry Brad we don’t think you’ll have to worry about fans not staying around after this beautiful, grown up effort. Layered vocal lines towards the end of the track show how complementary McVey, Simpson and Connor Ball are vocally and we’re definitely not ashamed to admit the raw passion in this track got to us… a little.
Not sticking with the guitar driven heartfelt theme for long My Place comes crashing in taking us back to their Meet The Vamps days which pretty much started their journey to here. Nimble guitar lines provide a pathway for Evans building drum lines in this boppy track, beat drops get under your skin making you moving along without any second thought. Can we come back to your place to talk about how ridiculously good this track is for singalongs?
Closing the album is Sad Song, which isn’t really a sad song (it makes sense when you listen to it!!). There’s always that one person you don’t get out of your head even if they’ve moved on you’ve ‘never stopped loving you, girl you’re still running through my head’. The addition of electro beats spice it up and take this away from a typical The Vamps song into a matured track in which they’re ready to experiment with new sounds and styles, something which has become clear through this album.
Night & Day (Night Edition) received the most pre-orders out of all The Vamps albums, it’s also undoubtedly the slickest, perfected and honest material we’ve heard from the quartet. James recently discussed that they hope it shows they’ve grown up as people and musicians and this truly shows throughout, it’s an incredible feeling to watch a band grow up as you do too and throughout the fan base there’s no doubt a lot of happy fans today. The Vamps are reaching the next stage of their career and Night & Day (Night Edition) is the perfect footing to take them to the next level. With their next release Night & Day (Day Edition) already lined up for release at the end of the year it really is onwards and upwards for this loveable quartet.
TLDR; The Vamps have grown musically, personally and lyrically over the last three years and Night & Day (Night Edition) is their strongest effort to date. Bringing together all our favourite parts of their sounds and showing off new musical skills accumulated through their collaborations. Skip to Same To You, Shades On and Stay.