The Vaccines are sharing new track “El Paso,” the latest song to be taken from their brilliant fifth album, Back In Love City, which is set for release two weeks today on September 10th.
The new album’s tender midpoint, “El Paso” finds Justin Young channelling a dreamy nostalgia. The song first took shape, along with much of the album, when the frontman set himself up in a house swap in Los Angeles, a pre-pandemic adventure that fueled his fascination with disconnection that was to become a thematic core to the album… “I literally swapped lives with a stranger. I lived in in house and drove his car while he lived in mine, but we’d never met and had no previous connections.”
Recorded at Sonic Ranch, El Paso, TX, with producer Daniel Ledinsky (Tove Lo, Zara Larson, TV on the Radio, Rihanna), Back in Love City is The Vaccines’ most euphoric, visceral and visionary work to date. It’s a record that sees the five-piece assert themselves as one of Britain’s most vital guitar bands, with 13 songs set against the fictional metropolis of the album’s title. The Vaccines previously shared the album’s first single “Headphones Baby” and title track “Back In Love City.”
Inspired by fictional cities – from Ridley Scott’s version of LA in Blade Runner to Cowboy Beebop’s Fear City – as much as places like Las Vegas, Tijuana and Tokyo, the idea of Love City took shape when the band’s frontman Justin Young set himself up in a house swap in Los Angeles, fuelling his fascination with disconnection: “I literally swapped lives with a stranger. I lived in in house and drove his car while he lived in mine, but we’d never met and had no previous connections.”
A modern-day pleasure island – equal part utopia and dystopia – Love City was born from the band’s fascination with emotions as commodities and the desperation for human connection. “In some obvious ways we’re more connected than ever,” Young explains. “But we’re also more polarised than we’ve been for 100 years and the world is getting colder. What if there was a place where love and other emotions had run dry – but you could go to Love City to get them?”
As a backdrop for the album’s hyperbolic tales of 21st-century escapism, the titular Love City allowed Young’s songwriting to flourish like never before. He imagined The Vaccines as the house-band in Love City, a place where safety, solace and satisfaction are on offer as much as love, where mental and physical pleasure is for sale, and where nobody has to be alone.
The album was finished early in 2020 and mixed by Andrew Maury (Lizzo, Post Malone) with additional production from Fryars (Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson). It’s not a lockdown record, but its theme of escapism in modern life resonates more than ever in the pandemic era. It’s a massive musical leap forward for the band, too, and while the trademark surf swagger and Western flourish of The Vaccines sound remains, Back in Love City is their heaviest record so far and documents a band flexing at their creative peak.
Pre-order Back In Love City here.
Photo Courtesy: Frank Fiber