VACCINES – Come Of Age (Columbia)

For the title of their second album the The Vaccines have once again laid their cards on the table. After the self-deprecating ‘What Did You Expect From…’, they are now informing us that they have come of age. ‘No Hope’ is an assured opening, reinforcing the album title in its lyrics, over a spirited Strokes-ey tune, and ‘I Always Knew’ is a rollicking indie-pop song, with a sound hugely indebted to girl groups of the 60’s. ‘Teenage Icon’ references Frankie Avalon, so once again both the lyric and the tune hark back to a golden age of rock ‘n’ roll, albeit injected with a healthy dose of modern rock. The guitar sound of ‘All In Vain’ has been likened to George Harrison’s, and I can hear where they are coming from, but to me he also seems to have influenced the lyrics, with the singer’s world-weary belief that his life is all in vain. ‘Ghost Town’ starts off with a bit of a rockabilly feel, but it soon builds up to a rousing chorus, and ‘Aftershave Ocean’ is The Vaccines at their most melodic, with key and time changes aplenty on a catchy indie-pop tune, and even fitting in a real guitar solo. ‘Weirdo’ is just as odd as its title suggests – with its off-key guitars giving it a suitably spooky feel, and the paranoid lyrics blending in perfectly. ‘Bad Mood’ is a great, driving rocker celebrating being a bit grumpy, and perhaps surprisingly, is one of the best tracks on here. The riff attacks on first hearing, and the urgency of the song together with the way Justin spits out the lyric really makes you feel that something has got on his nerves. ‘Change Of Heart Pt.2’ is an OK rocker, but doesn’t seem to go anywhere after the previous songs, so it is left to ‘I Wish I Was A Girl’ to provide a bit of light relief before the album closes with ‘Lonely World’. Out of all the songs on this album, this is the one that has got the forums talking, with general opinion being that this could be the direction that the band need to be looking to for their next album. Great as their in-your-face indie rockers are, ‘Lonely World’ hints that there is more depth to them than you first thought, and with this lush mid-tempo ballad they have produced one of their best songs. I am not saying they should jettison the punk guitars completely, but chuck in a couple like this and the next album will be a cracker. For now, enjoy an adolescent Vaccines, railing against society, before they mature into ‘The Vaccines Get A Mortgage And Settle Down’.

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