The Vaccines - Come of Age
- By Craig Jones -
- Sep 05, 2012
Just over a year ago The Vaccines released their commercially successful debut album ‘What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?’ and now they return with the dreaded second compilation ‘Come of Age’ with the lingering question have the rowdy boys become respectable men?
When The Vaccines, who consist of Justin Young, Arni Arnason, Freddie Cowan and Pete Robertson, first burst on the scene their striking guitar riffs and vagabond image scored them considerable chart success and a plethora of critical acclaim. Their debut album was fresh, filled with catchy indie pop hooks, offering something a little different to the nation’s ever rebellious youth.
Their quick-footed return delivers much of the same complied with a little more musical maturity - something to be expected from a band who claim to be coming of age. The troupe, who only formed in 2009 in West London, have been testing a selection of tracks out from their latest release during their summer festival performances and they seem to have been hitting all the right notes with the audience.
Young’s unmistaken vocals come to the fore on The Ramones-like ‘Bad Mood’ which simmers with the band’s usual sense of rebellion and includes the typical Vaccines’ trait of the track being short and sweet finishing before it has even begun - much like the majority of songs on their first album.
One of the highlights from ‘Come of Age’ is ‘Teenage Icon’ a tale of modesty and embarrassment from a seemingly reluctant showman told through Young’s delicately croaky vocals. This track wouldn’t have felt out of place on their debut but reassuringly the band haven’t rested on their laurels recycling the same old sound there is a little development here to be found.
The song ‘Weirdo’ is a prime example of that, it sees the group daringly moving out their comfort zone, trying a slow-paced ballad, which has dark sinister undertones, and portrays the tale of loner who is seemingly socially unaccepted. In the track which sounds a little like a cross between Arcade Fire’s and Kings of Leon’s earlier material, Young bellows, ‘I guess I’m controlling and I’m insecure, I know you’d like it better if I opened up some more’ to make a memorable Vaccines track.
This depth is the lasting legacy of ‘Come of Age’ that The Vaccines have proved they have some scope to their sound. As the one criticism of ‘What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?’ was that the album basically blended into one with no one track having a great distinction. But now there is clear evidence of some change and their sound evolving.
This album, on paper, is a hugely difficult one for the Vaccines as they could easily draw a comparison to Hard-Fi whose first release in 2005 ‘Stars of CCTV’ won awards and favour in the charts earning them significant success but subsequent follow-ups never reached their initial heady heights leading to relative obscurity. This is the crossroads the Vaccines have arrived at but thankfully there is enough progression here to suitably ensure the band should be around for years to come. It is fair to say ‘What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?’ could be embodied as a drunken night out of loutish teenagers and ‘Come of Age’ is hardly settling down to have a family but there is welcome maturity and surety to the sound of The Vaccines.
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