Review Summary: Another good-but-not-good-enough album from the band.
In early 2011, I, like the rest of the nation, fell in love with the Vaccines first infectiously catchy single If You Wanna. But after the release of their almost apologetically titled debut album What did you expect from the Vaccines?, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. By no means was it a bad album, in fact there were no bad songs on the entire album, but neither were there any great songs with the same Mike-Tyson –like punch of If You Wanna, and I was left with the feeling that it could have been so much better.
Fast forward 18 months and we have the follow up album, Come of Age. The first thing I noticed upon hearing the first single, No Hope, was that it was remarkably darker than anything from their debut, long gone are the days of “Pretty girl/wreckin’ bar/ra-ra-ra-ra/yeah you are” and instead we have Justin Young crooning lines such as “There’s no hope/and there’s desperately/No hope” . The other main difference was that the Vaccines have clearly tried to be much more ambitious musically on this album.
The album starts out strongly with No Hope and continues this way with I Always Knew, almost like a modern, slightly less appealing, Sunny Afternoon. Teenage Icon is one of the finer points of the album, recapturing the pop-like choruses found on their debut. Both Aftershave Ocean and All in Vein follow this method, and while they are both good tracks neither are as memorable as Teenage Icon.
Ghost Town and I Wish I Was a Girl are both prime examples of well-constructed, slightly odd songs the like of which weren’t seen on What did you expect…?. Sadly, the strong first half of the album is let down by a string of forgettable tracks such as Weirdo, which while a good song in essence it seems unwilling to go anywhere.
All in all, Come of Age is a good album. While not as immediately likeable as its predecessor, the high points propel it to the same heights, if not higher, than their debut. However, too many album fillers let the album down, and again leave one with the feeling that it could have been so much better.