Year of the Album — #038
The Vaccines – “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” (2011, Columbia)
One of my British friends in the music press has been extolling the virtues of the Vaccines for months now, and I stupidly didn’t go to enough trouble to take her advice and seek their music out prior to its American release. Shame on me, because this is one of the catchiest indie rock albums you’re likely to find anywhere!
From the opening eighty seconds of the album, the blistering “Wrecking Bar,” its immediately clear that anything this band writes is going to be fully capable of rocking at Clash-like levels. All my expectations were instantly blown out of the water. From that point it’s a steady succession of radio-ready singles — almost enough to set your mind to reeling. Justin Young is fully capable of leading this band into stadiums around the world, with his elemental, everyman vocals melded with his band’s tight sense of the value of immediate hooks.
It’s hard to draw direct comparisons, but it’s as though the Beach Boys’ relaxed beachcombing tunes have been melded with the punk hooks of the Ramones and the pop smarts of Oasis. The result is an album which slames into the room, beats its way into your heart with pure melodic excellence, and then gets the fuck out the door before you’ve had the chance to get their name. And once you’ve come back from the brink, you’ll want to hit repeat to go through the whole experience again.
I’m not going to go into individual singles here. All you need to know is that What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? is, from front to back, the most impressive debuts this critic has heard in more than a decade. There’s not a weak track in the bunch. It’s clear from the first listen that the Vaccines are destined to become a household name; if radio won’t play them here in the States, it’s time to load up a car with friends, stick the album in the CD player and blast these brilliant pop confections for everyone to hear.
This is perfect music for a musical generation which has been numbed by mediocrity for far too long. Play it loud and proud! The Vaccines are clearly here to stay.
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Feel like proving me wrong? I dare you not to start singing along to “Wetsuit,” the strongest “Beach Boys meet Oasis” tunes in the bunch!