The Vaccines
What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?


3.0
good

Review

by barnsgwj USER (9 Reviews)
April 13th, 2011 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A promising debut album from a band that is surprisingly fresh but lacking a bit of maturity at the moment.

There’s something strangely fresh about The Vaccines. Strange because their sound owes so much to post punk, Madchester and Britpop that their debut album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ would seem equally suited to being released in any of the previous 3 decades. Yet this is a guitar-laden album with a confidence and honesty that is pleasing amid recent years where guitar bands have gone a bit stale. The 3rd placed contestants in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 have a sound more reflective of 1991, but it is this that is so refreshing amid an age of synths and sub woofers.

Their confidence can be seen with the first two tracks – ‘Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ a sardonic reference to their reputation as being a bit posh, and ‘If You Wanna’, an exceptionally catchy love song with lyrics which espouse an innocent honesty – ‘That’s what all the friends I don’t like as much as you, say’. Both songs have an energy that is reminiscent of their Ramones influence. The other main hit from the album is ‘Post Break-Up Sex’, a song that reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of the band. It is a catchy song that evokes memories of Madchester bands like Stone Roses while also emulating the feel good nature that has earned them comparisons with The Strokes. The title of the song also reveals the nature of plenty of their lyrics. Their lyrics are often slightly shallow and limited to teenage sex and relationships. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing but at times they are a bit cliché and a little bit unpleasant – Norgaard, a song about a 17 year old not being ready yet seems a little bit uncouth.

What the lyrics do reveal is that this is a band that is prepared to exploit the realities of youth culture in their work. While the songs can be seen as being immature and sordid, they are also filled with an honest representation of the world as they see it. This is surely what any rock band is trying to do anyway – there’s no point in avoiding these realities. It is perhaps for this reason that the album is named as it is – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? I certainly was not expecting an album that evoked so many memories of great bands like The Stone Roses and The Ramones and I was not expecting an album as sincere as this. I was also not expecting lead singer Justin Young (also known as indie-folk singer Jay Jay Pistolet) to be part of such a robust project. Thus the band has surpassed its expectations and the very title highlights this.

After so many years of arrogance in indie rock it is most pleasing to see that The Vaccines’ confidence is also laced with a healthy dollop of angst and insecurity. The guitarist, Freddie Cowan, is supposedly from an illustriously wealthy family which for some reason makes him the object for some scorn in the music media. There is certainly an insecurity about the bands roots as is most clearly seen in the concluding song ‘Somebody Else’s Child’ which has the lyrics “I'm alright/ Why'd you ask?/ I'm uptight I guess/ Let it pass/ I've never had much in common with you.” Even in the first song ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ the ‘(Ra Ra Ra)’ can be seen as a direct confrontation with this insecurity. This does indeed raise the question, why is there such an inverted snobbery towards the success of privately educated bands in modern rock music?

The Vaccines’ debut album is an enjoyable listen primarily due to the catchiness of many of the songs. The wonderfully catchy ‘If You Wanna’ and the Stone Roses-esque ‘All In White’ are highlights though each of the songs carries with it the enthusiasm that fuels the album. There is polishing to be done, but The Vaccines can truly grow to emulate the successes of so many of the bands whose memory is evoked by them.



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user ratings (164)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
yertletheturtle (4)
Fresh, uplifting post-punk. Pop hooks and driving guitars pull this album among the best indie-rock ...

jackalope11 (2.5)
An album with great musicianship and eccentric songwriting...and that's it....

HelplessnessBlues (4)
"It's alright if you wanna come back to me."...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2011


7376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good, and fair review imo

Knott-
Emeritus
April 13th 2011


10198 Comments


good review and i agree but holy fuck

If You Wanna is a fucking tune

Knott-
Emeritus
April 13th 2011


10198 Comments


DO YOU WANNA COME BACK IT'S ALRIGHT IT'S ALRIGHT

IT'S ALRIGHT IF YOU WANNA COME BACK

DO YOU WANNA COME BACK IT'S ALRIGHT IT'S ALRIGHT

IT'S ALRIGHT IF YOU WANNA COME BACK TO ME

Titan50
April 13th 2011


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It seems I love this more than most

DoubtGin
April 13th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty pleasant album

brandaao
April 18th 2011


98 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Wetsuit" sounds great...

I'm actually enjoying this album much more than I thought I would.

I'm seeing them live, with The Strokes this november....Should be interesting

BigHans
June 10th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

first two songs are ridiculously catchy

BigHans
June 10th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is great dont understand the low rating. Its hipster as fuck though.

bab808
July 31st 2011


456 Comments


as much as i feel like i shouldn't get this, given how much hype i've been buying into lately... the songs i've heard are too good to pass this up

bab808
July 31st 2011


456 Comments


also, the chorus of if you wanna reminds me of blink lol

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 6th 2011


6499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wreckin' Bar is one of finest "punk" songs I've heard in a long time. Pure Ramones nostalgia!
Very decent album but they totally smash it live, I hear.

Digging: Recondite - Iffy

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2011


6499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And Norgaard may well be my favorite single of the year so far :D

ThyCrossAwaits
September 18th 2011


3056 Comments


DO YOU WANNA COME BACK IT'S ALRIGHT IT'S ALRIGHT

IT'S ALRIGHT IF YOU WANNA COME BACK

DO YOU WANNA COME BACK IT'S ALRIGHT IT'S ALRIGHT

IT'S ALRIGHT IF YOU WANNA COME BACK TO ME

[2]

Digging: Dead Raven Choir - My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2011


7376 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wish this wasn't so patchy, could've been one of the year's best albums.

Sleaper
November 30th 2011


3408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How the fk is this not highly recognized on sputnik?

The color spectrum has 46 pages, and this has not even 1? ahh typical

Digging: Panda Bear - Mr Noah

WhiteNoise
January 31st 2012


3227 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool album and good live.

barcafan21
September 17th 2012


1924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

norgaard blows my mind

Digging: St. Vincent - St. Vincent

barcafan21
September 17th 2012


1924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

as do post break-up sex, wolf pack, and somebody else's child

barcafan21
November 2nd 2012


1924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

norgaard is seriously in my top 25 songs ever



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