Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Alternative Pop/Rock
"I'm not magnetic or mythical/I'm suburban and typical," Justin Young sings on the Vaccines' second LP. The quippy, punky London band generated a big U.K. buzz with its 2011 debut, even scoring a coveted Liam Gallagher diss. Here, Young gives 25-and-bored clichés his own hapless-wanna-be spin – on "I Always Knew" he's too dumb to make it through a conversation with his girlfriend, on "Teenage Icon" he gets his picture taken "where John Lennon may have stood, or so I'm told," and throughout he's far too hopped up on Strokes-crisp tunes and surf-y guitar snap to come off half as blasé as he wants us to think he is.
There are two fundamental points central to fully appreciating ‘The Vaccines Come Of Age’. Firstly, that Justin, Freddie, Arni and Pete have only been a band for little over two years. Secondly, that they’ve already pumped out two records in this relatively short period of time.Back in the ’60s it was perfectly normal for bands to dish up albums at a rate of knots.
The Vaccines are back—and a little pissed. Here, the messy/charming quartet team up with Ethan Johns to augment their electric guitar rock with the producer’s polish and pedigree, sharing the mic about the difficulties of youth and girls that don’t like them and, like, not really caring about them either. The record is more balanced, but that youthful spark is harder to find.
With their excellent 2011 debut, What Did You Expect from the Vaccines, The Vaccines proved themselves one of the rare British music press darlings that actually deserves all the hype. A goodie bag of post-punk and indie references, What Did You Expect from the Vaccines was spearheaded by an opening salvo of instant-classic tracks that revealed influences from the Ramones to the Jesus and Mary Chain. No, it was not groundbreaking, but with Justin Young’s authoritative baritone out in front, it was catchy, confident, and convincing.
Review Summary: Hair in funny placesMaybe it’s old age setting in but a lot of these bands that make up the herd lack distinctive qualities. Foals have that guy that does the thing, The Drums with that fella with the hair (you know him, right?) and The Vaccines, well…let me tell you about The Vaccines…According to their Wik…no, forget that. The point is that some of these bands can pass you by and so arguably those who straddle that dark pit between full recognition and total obscurity need to craft something special to get noticed.
It seems neither respectful, nor enlightened to begin a review of any band's second album by bringing up a point about their first, but this point is (a) about the transition between the two, (b) somewhat inevitable and (c) fuck it, this isn't a tea party and I’m not going to keep my elbows off the fucking table. So... after the final track of What Did You Expect From...
The Vaccines Come Of Age isn’t an ironic title, at least not on purpose. The release marks the love-’em-or-…ignore-’em Brit group’s second proper effort. They’re young, kind of annoying and well aware of both those facts. Are you young? Also a bit obnoxious? Great, then you’ll likely dig Come Of Age.
2011's much hyped What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? had some solid moments that skillfully blended the snarky dissatisfaction of the Kaiser Chiefs with the stadium-ready, sonic expansiveness of late-period Jesus and Mary Chain, but the overall effect was one of calculated redundancy. Like the Kaisers, the Vaccines feel like a singles band trying to hold out for a solid greatest-hits collection, and Come of Age, while not as immediate as its predecessor, gets the job done with workmanlike precision. Come of Age dispenses with the bombast of the band’s debut, offering up 11 relatively disparate tracks that aim for the main floor instead of the nosebleed seats, and at its best (“Teenage Icon," “Bad Mood,” “Aftershave Ocean”), it serves as a serviceable stand-in for the Libertines, the Arctic Monkeys, and the Strokes of the world.
The second album from London four-piece the Vaccines starts off promisingly enough, the infectious No Hope recalling the Libertines jangle of If You Wanna from last year's over-hyped debut, with the twist that frontman Justin Young appears to have incorporated an unexpected Bob Dylan twang into his delivery. But from then on there is precious little to set them apart from the retro-indie pack. Aftershave Ocean nods to midtempo, chugging Ash; I Always Knew is a breezily unmemorable study in surf-pop.
Without hearing a note of their second album, you might already detect a new sense of purpose about the Vaccines. For one thing, there's the title. Their debut album slunk into the shops under the name What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?, an apologetic shrug amid a storm of hype. Here, instead, is a cocksure statement of confidence and maturity.
Will someone please give Justin Young a hug, immediately followed by a ride to see a therapist? The frontman for UK hype magnets The Vaccines knows how to pack a song with enough shameless self-loathing and petty insecurities to make Morrissey blush. To put it gently, the dude’s got some issues. On his band’s sophomore LP, The Vaccines Come of Age, the band does nothing of the sort.
The VaccinesCome Of Age[Columbia; 2012]By David Wolfson; November 30, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetThe problem with the Vaccines’ first album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, wasn’t the songs. On paper, the band’s debut full-length actually wasn’t that bad. At their best, the songs had solid melodies, catchy hooks, and memorable riffs.
The Vaccines are not joking. Just joking; they are joking. That seemed to be the takeaway of their debut, What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?, the title of which wisely tried to curry favor with the listener by shifting the focus from the unyieldingly competent lad-rock within to what the Vaccines wanted to be seen as their utter lack of complicity in being swept up by perfunctory hype.
Foursome delivers its second album in 18 months – but why delay when it’s this great? Camilla Pia 2012 Eighteen months ago, The Vaccines asked, What Did You Expect? But their rather sedate debut left many unconvinced that they were worthy of the buzz and hysteria that heralded their arrival. Since that first effort they’ve weathered some unnecessary posho jibes, bouts of illness and the constant, and dreary, debate about the relevance of their Strokes- and Arctic Monkeys-inspired indie rock in a post-xx sonic landscape. Have they single-handedly saved guitar music? Sigh… no.