Review Summary: Hair in funny places
Maybe 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. As luck would have it, The Vaccines appear to have done just that. After becoming victims of their own hype with a patchy and underwhelming debut album, the long road back into the public’s good graces may well have been traversed with ease.
Come Of Age
exceeds the expectations granted by its title and instead shows that the group are already wise beyond their years. Opening couplet “I could bore you with the truth about an uneventful youth/or you could get that rap from someone else” is a prime example of the self-awareness and comfort in their own abilities that permeates the whole album. The tried-and-tested method of upbeat music underpinned by bittersweet, sarcastic lyrics is put to good use here and elsewhere. “Teenage Icon” utilises such tricks of the trade with aplomb. Belying their relative youth with a reference to Frankie Avalon, the chorus of “Teenage Icon” acts as an ode to the downside of hype. The Vaccines might have had the future of British guitar music planted onto their shoulders by a typically rabid press pack but it’s an honour they refuse with witty self-deprecation; vocalist Justin Young waving away the plaudits via the assertion that he is “so ordinary, no mystery with great capabilities.” It’s a fine dose of realism from an industry that can rely on messianic reverence when needs be.
The Vaccines provide two stellar moments on Come Of Age
; the shanty-like, knockabout fun of “Ghost Town” with its scuzzy guitar-led chorus and “Aftershave Ocean”, which rocks and sways like a trip across the waves. The latter in particular is a hit in the making. Its music remains expansive enough for Freddie Cowan’s guitar playing to take the lead and support Young’s vocal melody. The only real downsides are “Weirdo”, which flat-out refuses to pick itself up off the floor, and “Lonely World” which conspires to undo all of the good work that precedes it.
Cynics will deem this album and The Vaccines themselves as “landfill indie.” The wider implications of that argument can be agreed with, but at least you’re out in the open in a landfill site. Far better than being obsolete.