Album Review: The Vaccines – What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?

By on Friday, 3rd June 2011 at 12:00 pm

Editor’s note: We realise this album has been out since March in the UK. But we thought it was high time to take a closer look at it…

The Vaccines. The hype around these four Londoners at the moment is enough to drive any band to almost Gallagher-esque levels of cockiness, the title of their debut record ‘What Did You Expect From the Vaccines’ tells it all, really. They know they are good, they know you want to listen to them; they don’t think they need to try really and it’s when they stop trying that they are at their best.

Some of the songs sound lazy almost as if the songs just kind of fell off of the fretboards of their guitars. ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ (watch video here) is a picture perfect example of this: clever lyrics, lazy hooks, simple. But the final four tunes in the album (‘All in White’, ‘Wolf Pack’, ‘Family Friend’, ‘Somebody Else’s Child’) are the best examples of this, of how they can with a simple bass riff, some echo effects, double tracking on their guitars and a few “ahhhhs” can create an indie pop track that you want to hear again, no matter how lazy ‘All In White’ sounds.

You get the feeling if the Vaccines started trying too hard that it wouldn’t work though. Think for a moment about when people are yearning for endless genre crossovers, with synths dripping from it all, a samba rhythm with a undertone of jazz… Why not just play good old fashioned guitar music? Well the Vaccines do this, with catchy tracks that get your feet tapping: it’s as simple as that. The production is good, but the record all the same doesn’t feel overproduced.

Single ‘If You Wanna’ (watch the video here) is the most radio-friendly track and this works to its favour as while the album is palatable, without the initial draw of ‘If You Wanna’ will you listen to the entire record? I say no, so I ask of you, prove me wrong, eh? Skip track 2. But if you do this, you’ll see this is where the album falls down slightly. But only slightly though; it is a lot of the same kind of ideas. But when you have a good idea, you run with it, yeah? That’s how they have done this; they got a good idea, perhaps one you may have heard before. Get a drummer, a bassist, a lead guitarist (let him grow his hair a little so you can stay ‘alternative,’) and a good looking frontman who wields his guitar like a machine gun and has a powerful voice. Ta-da! Good ol’ fashioned British guitar music.

This is a polished record and as I mentioned, it does include a lot of the same idea. So it leads me to question, while they have hit the mark with this record, are they going to fall at hurdle number two (the second album)? Time is the only thing that can tell that, but for now England has their own Strokes and while this may not be their ‘This is It’, it could be the start of something.


‘What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?’ is available now from Columbia.

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