Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Vaccines - Come Of Age

No matter how much you a like a band, there's only so much of a barrage of constant force-fed hype around them that you can take when their praises have been sung ever since as if they were the messiahs of indie rock, especially when they've only produced one pretty good album. Even more so coming from a band called The Vaccines who are more viral than anything else; having seen them at least five times without ever intending on attending a Vaccines gig. 

To begin with, their largely promising debut 'What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?' gave hope that they weren't to be another overrated buzzband, coated in glossy narcissism, but 56 issues of NME later, I found myself rolling my eyes at the sight of their name and their album which had previously been on repeat, gathered pixels of dust in my iTunes library. With a chance to prove themselves this summer with a second album, it seems that the name of the first lends it's name more aptly to 'Come Of Age', with the potential to regain some weary fans who jumped off the Vaccines bandwagon, maintain the attention of the avid groupies and of course, piss off the hipster cynics. 

'No Hope' opens the album with what are comparatively empty guitars, chiming in to greet Justin Young's new egotistical snarling drawl. With their trademark lazy strumming and the hazy feel of surf pop, it's a promising start that's not just a regurgitation of what we've heard on the radio for the past year and a half.

One of the highlights comes in at 'Teenage Icon', which on first listen is fairly irritating and banal but the chorus crashes in like a splash of salty ocean water that sticks in your head and makes you listen again and again until it becomes the perfect pop song in its unabashed simplicity.
It's almost as if tracks one to three are the musical equivalent of a sunny Californian beach party that by tracks four and five, saw a depleted number of guests having lost interest and gone in search of a livelier and more interesting stretch of sand. 

Yet 'Aftershave Ocean' may be the saving grace; it's glowing guitar riffs skip over major chords with a harmonious tranquility that brings 'Come Of Age''s head above the water for air.
One of the most notable points of the album is 'I Wish I Was A Girl' which actually works incredibly well in all it's seemingly odd existence from a gang of four that ooze testosterone but they pull it off with a seductive allure that only asserts their masculinity and admittedly, does see them come of age from their debut. 

Taking a different approach to a new album is a bold move for a band like The Vaccines who despite their heralded glory have a lot of cynics rooting for their fall, something that could have been guaranteed had they not made any effort to push themselves to do something that we hadn't heard from them before. 'Come Of Age' takes some listens before your ears become attuned to its cacophony of jangling instruments and heart beat offbeats but I think that says something more for it in that it provides more justification for the indie pedestal they've been placed on. It's not perfect, but whether they're singing about not being teenage icons with sheer irony or sincerity, they've got a long way to go to prove themselves before they get there, but they're certainly making waves.


Bella Roach

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