For Fans Of
Only a year after The Vaccines‘ debut ‘What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?‘ propelled them into the spotlight, the group are back with their appropriately titled second album, ‘Come of Age‘.
Given the short space of time between releases, it would be unreasonable to expect a great leap forward in their sound. The frenetic brand of garage rock that characterised their first album is still present, and on the surface, the only noticeable difference here is a maturation in their songwriting.
‘Ghost Town‘ demonstrates The Vaccines‘ ability to craft a song around dynamic variation of a repeated riff, moving from light hearted rock ‘n’ roll to grungy 80s hardcore. ‘Weirdo‘, possibly the most cohesive song on the album, displays a sensibility for catchy pop songs, and this is the best thing about ‘Come of Age‘ – its catchiness.
The group wear their influences on their sleeves, with obvious nods to garage rock icons such as The Strokes and The Libertines. Vocalist Justin Young sings in a faint imitation of Julian Casablancas, with an occasional Bob Dylan-like slur. The guitar riffs are jagged and raw, with vintage tones straight out of 50s American rock ‘n’ roll.
The problem is that while these elements combine to create a solid sound, and they do nail the sound, it feels like going over worn out territory. What made a band like The Libertines so appealing is that they were constantly unhinged, and left all the mistakes in. The Vaccines‘ sound, on the other hand, is clean and calculated, which goes against the very ethos of garage rock. The production is equally clean, lacking the grittiness of this group’s forebears.
What could potentially be a good album falls flat due to a lack of attitude and a bland tonal palette. The Vaccines have produced an admirable effort, but add nothing to a style that has already been perfected by better bands.
1. No Hope
2. I Always Knew
3. Teenage Icon
4. All in Vain
5. Ghost Town
6. Aftershave Ocean
8. Bad Mood
9. Change of Heart Pt.2
10. I Wish I Was a Girl
11. Lonely World