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Album Reviews, Audio Feedback: Music Blogjams

‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ – The Vaccines (Columbia Records)

4.5/10

Well, since you asked, this actually. After the two songs I heard late last year, when the media hype-volcano erupted, I expected exactly this. An aaaaaaallllllll-right album. Nothing more. Nothing special.

But the hype-volcano, like any real volcano, has the potential to be devastatingly ruinous when it erupts. So to see The Vaccines debut generally greeted with modest nods of approval by the British media – because lets face it, they won’t dent even an eardrum over in the States – is, I guess, much to their credit.

Not since the Arctic Monkeys debut 5 years ago have a straight-up British guitar band been forced to compete with such hilly expectations prior to their first LP release. And it’s clearly affected The Vaccines; enough for them to highlight all this clamouring anticipation with a gallantly bullish album title. It’s just a shame there aren’t more bullish qualities shown beneath the cover to back it up.

You know what, scratch that last comment. I’m a big fan of the short blast of smash ‘em, bash ‘em energy that is Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra). And I admire the neat lyricism to the tidily structured verses in If You Wanna, but after this promising pairing have been and gone, I start to get bored and a little bothered quite quickly.

Don’t read me wrong. I’m not getting on their backs because of all the hype. The hype ain’t their fault now is it? This debut is a pleasant enough listen, but unfortunately over the course it can prove a tad bland and tiresome. Take the centre-piece pairing of ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ and ‘Under Your Thumb’. I find these two placed side by side just too plodding and repetitive not to be irksome. The cyclical nature of the lyrics bring to mind the heavy criticisms I dished out to Beady Eye last week.

And I’m not sure The Vaccines’ sound is rough enough around the edges to be loved by the Oasis and Kasabian rowdies, nor cutting edge and intelligent enough to be taken to the hearts of the Strokes and Libertines faithful. For me, The Vaccines strike a far too safe middle ground between these two camps, without having the flair, charm, or imagination to pull off either. There are hints of punked-up energy, as with the very Ramones-y riff in Norgaard, but they just lack the balls to wallop it through.

I’m all for a fresh indie rock n roll revolution, but The Vaccines, I’m afraid, are not and never will be it.

Ch-Check It Out If You’re Partial To – British guitar-based indie bands; solid but unoriginal genre-based music; first album Strokes; being caught up in the hyped-up ejaculations of the British music press; crooning baritones similar to Ian Banks of Interpol; three chord structures; getting drunk and chanty around town

Fantastic Track – Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)


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