Friday, 7 September 2012

REVIEW: The Vaccines - The Vaccines Come Of Age - LISTEN

Tipped to be huge and predicted to spearhead a much-needed British rock revival, The Vaccines return just over 18 months after their debut album with their second effort 'The Vaccines Come Of Age'. It's not quite a coming of age musically, but you have to take in to account that this band have been together for less than two years and were thrust into the limelight very early on in their career. It's not a massive leap forward, but it does boast a range of fine, accomplished tunes. 

At times it sees them trying to distance themselves from the hype, lyrically hinting that they're just four guys in a guitar band, not the saviours of rock n roll. "I could make an observation if you want the voice of a generation, but I'm too self absorbed to give it clout" reads a line from opening track 'No Hope', which pairs Justin Young's very best Bob Dylan sneer with an infectious Strokes-like tune. Along with the breezy rock n roll thrill of 'Teenage Icon', you get two of the most addictively catchy songs you'll hear all year. 

'I Always Knew' is another standout, its galloping rhythm bringing to mind Ennio Morricone and Joe Meek turning their hands to Ash's 'Angel Interceptor'. Then there's the stunning 'All In Vain' with its downbeat beauty, lovely 60's pop melodies and soaring George Harrison-esque guitar. Four tracks provide a perfect start to the album, and the high quality is continued with the slightly Cramps-like 'Ghost Town', which shows a darker side to the band, climaxing in some nice gritty guitars. 'Aftershave Ocean' is a McCartney-esque ballad that strays into Muse territory for four strange seconds during the second verse, while the slightly dreary 'Weirdo' is probably the weakest thing here. 

Luckily the record immediately picks itself up with the stroppy rock n roll riffage of 'Bad Mood', which again shows a harder bite to the group's sound. With its 'Wipeout' surf drums, 'Change Of Heart' is a brilliantly infectious relative of the first album's 'Under Your Thumb', with some added nods to The Beach Boys' 'Do You Wanna Dance'. 'I Wish I Was A Girl' states a desire to not only be a completely different person but a completely different gender, on a song which doesn't quite succeed and certainly isn't the most inspired thing on the album. 

Thankfully '... Come Of Age' does end on a high with the yearning guitars and Phil Spector-esque melodies of 'Lonely World', which possesses the band's biggest chorus yet. None of this record signals a change in direction, but a few tracks certainly have more balls than their previous efforts, there is greater confidence, and the melodies soar higher than on the previous album. Lyrically they're sharper too, so it can't be said that the band haven't progressed during the relatively short time that they've been around. Only two slightly weaker tracks provide the filler that prevents this from being a truly great album, but thanks to more than a few top quality tracks, it's an enjoyable second full length from one of the best new bands of recent years. 8.4


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