Unless you’ve been living in a very deep hole for the past twelve months then you will probably have heard the infectious singles ‘Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ and ‘If You Wanna’, which have catapulted them to fame.
Forming only last year, there has been a media whirlwind surrounding this band, with Zane Lowe branding their very first demo ‘the hottest track in the world’ and later stating that they would ‘kick-start a new era of music’. A lot of hype and expectation then for The Vaccines, led by singer and guitarist, Justin Young. Luckily this is not Justin’s first foray into the world of music as he has been writing and touring indie-folk ditties for a number of years under the guise Jay Jay Pistolet.
This becomes obvious on The Vaccines debut album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ as Justin puts into practice his knack for a catchy melody, this time backed by a full band. Starting the album with their two most famous songs [see above] is a bold statement from the band. The album could quite easily tail off after this point and lead The Vaccines to mediocrity and one-hit wonder fame. Thankfully, they are not a band to disappoint. Changing tack slightly, they leave the short, sharp bursts of indie-pop for a slower, more sombre sound on third track ‘A Lack of Understanding’, a ballad about a stale relationship.
The album then really steps up a level with the middle section – this is the sound of The Vaccines at their best. The simple yet melodic guitar line of ‘Blow It Up’ blends beautifully into album highlight ‘Wetsuit’, a song about making the most of your childhood which Q described as ‘destined to be the significant closing track to a thousand teenage mixtapes’. They couldn’t be more right. From the softly strummed guitars to the nonsensical lyrics, this is a song that the youth of today can grasp onto and call their own. ‘Norgaad’ then, is the complete other end of the spectrum. In a similar vein to ‘Wrecking Bar…’ this song is a short explosion of perfectly formed indie rock that crashes round your head long after the record has finished. This is fated to be played in indie discos the length and breadth of the country.
At this point you could be forgiven for thinking The Vaccines were trying to write about every event on the indie-teen checklist – making the most of childhood; check. Dancing in the disco; check. This is then followed by ‘Post Break-up Sex’ which is, you guessed it, perfect for a break-up; check.
‘Under Your Thumb’ and ‘All In White’ see The Vaccines shifting towards stadium rock. In moderation this is not a bad thing. This is in fact a positive, uplifting thing, as long as the band can steer clear of ‘White Lies disease’ in which EVERY song becomes a stadium rock composition.
Penultimate track ‘Wolf Pack’ sees a return to a frantic pace, with familiar danceable melody. This then leads into ‘Family Friend’, a slow burner which shows the flexibility of this band. This is a song about being stuck between adolescence and adulthood which finishes with a classic big build, to mark the end of an impressive album.
The album sees The Vaccines using a lot of different speeds, styles and directions as if yet to decide on what their sound actually is. This is the beautiful and exciting thing about them. The lack of continuity IS their style, the contrasting songs placed next to each other IS The Vaccines and that is why they are a band who are going places, FAST.