The Vaccines – [Album]

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

There are some schools of philosophy which uphold that if you travel far enough, you'll eventually meet yourself – but can the artistic community of an entire landmass accomplish such a feat? That question becomes perfectly valid when one hears What Did You Expect From The Vaccines; for those who don't know, the band is from London, England and, on their debut album, they drag the sounds, styles and aesthetics of every truly great Brit-Pop band from both the Eighties and Nineties back to life believably for everyone who hears this record.

On The Vaccines' debut, it really is just that easy to pick out and vividly recall the strains of such institutions as The Smiths, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Pulp, Blur, James, The Cure (but not Robert Smith's voice) and more with little-to-no effort at all because each of the signature sounds of those bands are so faithfully incorporated into these eleven songs that they sound as if they could have been outtakes from recording sessions by those bands swept up off the cutting room floor and reconstituted by this band. Because of the eerie similarities, listeners will be scouring this album's liner notes looking for 'guest writing' credits and it's only after none can be found that listeners may begin to accept that this album is legitimate work.

As soon as listeners accept that What Did You Expect From The Vaccines is the real deal, they'll immediately start to love and respect the obvious beauty and craft of it. Songs like “A Lack Of Understanding” (which owes an unfathomably deep debt to The Smiths), “Wrecking Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” (see “Dancing With Myself”-era Billy Idol), “If You Wanna” (Pulp anyone?), “Wetsuit” (sounds like Roxy Music with a bit of Buddy Holly flavoring), “Norgaard” (The Vaselines – no question) and “Post Break-Up Sex” (same – The Vaccines even come close to mimicking “Sex With An X” at a couple of points during the song) immediately become endearing and even loveable in a way; like old friends you haven't seen in so long, you'd begun to question what they looked like. That sort of reaction basically spells out the words 'guilty pleasure' pretty clearly, but it's still hard not to cheer when one realizes they band is pulling it off. Not only that but, because The Vaccines actually seem to be enjoying what they're doing as they buoyantly bounce along, that sense becomes infectious and listeners will find themselves right there with the band.

Now, the grim reality check is that, unless this band actively tries to develop its sound into something that is a little more unique (like it as not, What Did You Expect… sounds a bit like a bar band trying its hand at original material), it's debatable how far they'll be able to go. The album is so much fun though, it's nice to think that this will be a jumping off point toward bigger and better things – let's all hope for that.



The Vaccines – "Norgaard (Live)"


What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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