The Vaseliners are a pop punk band inspired by the likes of The Ramones, Screeching Weasel, The Queers, The Apers and The Groovie Ghoulies. The Italian five-piece formed in 2012 and this January they released their aptly named debut album Sorry We're Late. With those influences it was pretty obvious what kind of album you were going to get from The Vaseliners, so I was looking forward to giving it a listen. Here's what I thought.
The album starts out with a song named One Hit Wonder. As is completely obvious from the song’s title, it's about a band having one big hit that everyone knows and then getting tossed aside when the next band has their hit. As you can imagine, it’s a fast-paced track with very punchy vocals. From the outset it's clear The Vaseliners aren't reinventing the wheel but they are going to show their own spin on it. The Queers influence is clear on the second track Friendship Sinking. There are some fantastic harmonies to go along with the softened vocals. It's about drifting apart from the friends that you grew up with as you get older and travel down different life paths and sadly not caring about it. The Vaseliners rhythm section takes the lead on the next song Let You Go with a pounding drum beat and a rumbling bass line. It's a pop punk album so you have to have at least one song about getting over a girl, it's pretty much law! This track is played at a mid-tempo pace and nothing feels rushed despite the shortness of the song. Clearly these Italians don't like to be cryptic with their song titles - evident in the next track, Back To The Future. Ten points if you can guess what it's about! It's a fun, catchy song that fans of the film will really get a kick out of. The fifth song, Rollercoaster, is about the highs and lows of being with someone. This is a very melodic song with some more brilliant harmonies. There is an upbeat feel in the delivery of the song that I imagine would put many smiles on faces at a Vaseliners live show.
The fast-paced Hobson's Choice kicks off the second half of Sorry We're Late with a bang. After a couple of slower songs this really wakes the listener up again. I wasn't immediately aware of what the track was about so I took to Google to find out what Hobson's Choice is. According to Wikipedia it's when you are given a free choice but only one option is offered. Basically it's when you are in a "take it or leave it" scenario. The Hobson's Choice in the song is directed at being in a relationship and putting up with the bad along with having the good. Autumn begins with a simple beat that, along with the singer’s vocal, carries the melody. It's a simple but very effective way to grab a listener’s attention. From there of course the song kicks into a full band effort but the vocals continue to lead the way. The song is another song about relationships (it's a pop punk record), this time about feeling down at the end of the relationship and looking back on the good times. Obviously She's A Stalker is about wanting to be left alone by your ex-girlfriend after things come to an end. Lyrically this is one of my favourites on Sorry We're Late. The first verse in particular stood out and really dragged me into the song - "No No More Texts Or Emails, Don't Wanna Know How You Feel Now, Stop Walking My Way Till Home, I've Already Closed The Door". The penultimate song on the album is titled Mercurial and it is about struggling to cope in a relationship with someone who can be volatile and animated and the behaviour is making you dislike the person you're with. It feels like there is a bit more venom in the vocal delivery of the song than on previous tracks, which I'm pleased about as it shows some emotion. All music needs emotion. The final song on Sorry We're Late is Jennifer Blue. I really enjoyed the opening of the song with the trade off between vocals and music giving the song a great one, two punch. This method continues throughout the song and gives it an interesting sound.
It was a long wait for The Vaseliners album but it was really worth it. Lots of bands play this style of pop punk music but few do it as well as The Vaseliners. If there is going to be a better pop punk album this year then it will be an all time classic.
Stream and download Sorry We're Late here: https://thevaseliners.bandcamp.com/album/sorry-were-late
Like The Vaseliners here: https://www.facebook.com/thevaseliners