Review Summary: Fresh, uplifting post-punk. Pop hooks and driving guitars pull this album among the best indie-rock albums of 2011. This London quartet deserve the hype.
What Did I Expect From The Vaccines? Word got around that a new post-punk band was releasing their debut. They had I INDIE slapped on them. I can't say I had high expectations. That was until "Wrecking Ball (Ra Ra Ra)" hit the airwaves. It was fresh. They had managed to play punk without sounding like some 1970s revival band. They hand managed to create infectious vocal lines without being "That indie band". Most importantly they managed to get me to buy their album as soon as it hit shelves. What I got was a 35min showcase of what it means to make an indie genre. Not just another punk revival one.
The first few songs breeze by in a matter of minutes. "If You Wanna" captures the surf rock of the 60s with a fresh spin. Then we hit "Lac Of Understanding" and we see the band slowing down for a breath. Mid tempo, flowing melodies and a memorable chorus show the band establishing that it is a jack of more than one trade. "Blow Up" seems like a dragging pop-punk tune. While the reverberated guitar and driving bass are great features, it ranks among the bottom of the album. The album flows light-heartedly with the formula they have chosen to stick with. Short songs, punchy choruses and melodies you can't resist. It is that limitation in which we see the bands first flaw.
Once we hit "Post Break-Up Sex" the fresh sound starts to become overused. This leaves the repetition of certain features to blame. While it may seem tiring, it still carries on strong through that first half like a indie Ramones album. Now we hit the second half. This is where The Vaccines show their maturity and their song writing capabilities, not just their singles. Stand outs of this half include "Wetsuit" (A slower tempo ballad with crashing cymbals and echoing guitars) "All In White" and "Family Friend"
"All In White" proves to be the strongest track on the album ticking all the boxes. A strong bass driven verse with a slow chorus filled with a melody to sooth the soul of even that loud neighbour with the short temper. It shows great musicianship with pounding drums and a build up that, while subtle, adds a lot of maturity compared to songs like "Norgaard". Each chorus and verse build upon the last until the climax cools to a soft suiting ending. Single clean chords with the closing lines; I am satisfied.
"Wolf Pack'' hits hard like an uplifting encore sing-along. Now the album has reached a full cycle. We hear the same catchy choruses and fast tempos that open this Indie gem. How do you end an album with such a flow and an already satisfying ending? One of the most suiting endings to an Indie record of the year contending with Kasabian's "Neon Noon" closing their 2011 album. It starts with a simple chord progression (which it keeps for the song with the exception of the bridge) slowly strummed with love. Justin Young tries his best to lull us to sleep with this lullaby. (and that isn't a bad thing) The build up starts to kick in with a little guitar line and a tambourine adding to the simplicity. Then we hit the top of the climax. Young belts his melodies with pounding drums and a tempo that is building to an epic conclusion. One frantic drum solo and a guitar effect-overload later we reach the end of this sweet record.
Oh, and Jason sings us a little hidden track accompanied by piano to ice the cake.
- Dreamy reverb driving guitar.
- A fresh take on post-punk that the British music scene needed.
- An album that flows brilliantly from one song to the next.
- A well rounded pop record.
-A seemingly repetitive formula for some songs.
- The fact that is a take on post-punk leaves some holes in originality.
This album will surely soothe your soul. Definitely a buy.