Past the fuzzy guitar and pounding drums of The Vamps’s lightheaded love ode “Married in Vegas” lies a secret weapon: a dialed-up piano part that marks the chorus as a secondary hook. Its music-hall glee is reminiscent of Elton John, and the colorful line is just a taste of the patchwork at play on the British group’s eclectic new Cherry Blossom album.
“This is a body of work that we’ve never really done in this way before,” guitarist James McVey told MTV News on a recent call with the full band. “Effectively, half of it’s being produced by the boys. We’ve written it all. It’s hopefully got their unique DNA into it.”
Since McVey formed the group with vocalist Brad Simpson via social media in 2012, the quartet — rounded out by bassist Connor Ball and drummer Tristan Evans — have endured early YouTube covers fame and a gradual sound evolution that took them from the peppy pop-rock of “Can We Dance” to arena screamers and electronic-tinged festival banner wavers. Cherry Blossom finds them stepping into a new realm. “Better” is pure dance fizz, while “Chemicals” unearths a grit previously missing from their sonic sheen. They’re proud of how far they’ve come.
Yet when they spoke to MTV News ahead of the album’s October 16 release, they mentioned how the planned celebrations for Cherry Blossom had to be amended due to the ongoing pandemic. “We’d usually be going on a massive night out, ending up in a different country with Brad’s eyebrows shaved off,” Evans said. “However, this time around, we are probably going to get together, we’ll invest in a couple of nice bottles of red wine, and just have a nice chill night, probably. If it can get mad, we can go mad. But it’s unlikely.”