To Die By Your Side

Who said I would not understand?

July 10th, 2011

I started off not thinking very much about The Vaccines‘ debut album. I don’t know if it was a reaction to the tremendous hype that surrounded it’s release but I gave it one listen and pretty much consigned it to the pile marked unremarkable. The strange thing is though that it’s managed to worm it’s way into a pretty heavy rotation. What initially seemed like a pleasant but unremarkable bunch of short indie songs has managed to creep up on me and sound like a damn fine bunch of short indie songs. I mean sure, if you’re looking for the saviours of rock and roll, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. There’s nothing particularly new or innovative at work here. Yet this set of songs are far superior to the landfill lad rock that passes for modern British indie music.

I guess the band themselves were aware of the media storm being whipped up around them when they named the album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?‘. As self aware, tongue in cheek titles go, it’s up their with The Strokesdebut. They appear to be pre-empting the backlash. Challenging the listener or reviewer to question the hype and use the music as the starting point, rather than the words that had been written about them. In doing that, you find yourself with a record that takes the post punk template and ties it to neatly to a jangly indie sensibility. While that may sound like something that’s been done a million times before, songs like ‘Wreckin Bar’ and ‘Post Break Up Sex’ are so damn catchy that it sounds fresh again. Filled with youthful vibrancy, they bound along with such energy and brevity that they negate any questions of originality.

Not that this is a flippant throwaway record. While it exudes much of the bubblegum charm of a record aimed squarely at getting you on the dance floor, there are enough flashes of real creativity, maturity and emotion to suggest that their might just be great things to come from this band. If they can really rise above being just a hyped up scenester band and build on the foundations of this record, then I reckon they might surprise a few people and release a truly essential record. For the time being though, what we have is an enjoyable and promising debut. I guess how much you’ll enjoy it really does come down to what you do expect from The Vaccines. If you’re expecting a record that’ll change your life, you’ll be disappointed. If however you’re looking for a good time album that fills your ears with catchy indie pop, you won’t be let down.

The Vaccines – post break up sex (live session version) : original version available on ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

The Vaccines – norgaard (live session version) : original version available on ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

The Vaccines – if ya wanna (live session version) : original version available on ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

Filed Under Album Reviews, Music

Jen posted the following on July 18, 2011 at 12:28 am.

I totally agree that the Vaccines album snuck up on me. It’s so great though. They’re performing at Lollapalooza on August 5th! That’s so awesome. Check out a live performance here: It’s my favorite of theirs!

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