The second Vaccines album comes with a sizable amount of expectation. Mainly due to the overwhelming success and critical acclaim of their first album but also due to their growth and hopeful portrayal in their second album.
Artistic growth is certainly at the forefront of their thinking as musicians. Not only because the album is called: The Vaccines Come of Age but In interviews they talk about wanting to grow artistically and their direction in the album comes from a want to bulk up the technical aesthetic of the tracks. If critics where to but a negative spin on the Vaccines last album they would say that the tracks are very simplistic lyrically and musically. The Vaccines are defiantly responding to that with this album, or at least attempting to.
However, as I negotiate the twists and turns of the album I notice that they have retained this simplicity that has come to define them lyrically. The similar hook, the repetitive chorus although It doesn’t distract from the feeling of the album because it is only in various tracks and the feeling of the guitar is admittedly improved from the last album. Justin Young’s vocals can sometimes feel a little repetitive. He never seems to change tone or key. It’s the same throughout the album. The feel of the album is the same as their debut. Even thematically tracks seem to have basis in the first album.
You can not consider these things criticisms however because, based on the previous album that formula works. Despite my initial cynicism toward the album I now enjoy it. The lyrical simplicity can annoy at times but technically the album is polished.
Highlights include their nod to Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ with the track ‘Weirdo’. The track Teenage Icon is unique, it distracts from the stereotypical big ego that surrounds bands. The song is an acceptance of mediocrity on the surface with some interesting lyrics such as “Reserved and shy your average guy. No piercing stare just out of shape with messy hair”. Reverting from a feeling that he is special or unique. He realizes that his appeal is limited and he accepts he is just like everyone else.
The Vaccines debut album ‘What did you expect from the Vaccines’ has so many big and memorable moments. Noorgard was a fantastic song, Post Break up Sex was very popular. The hidden track: Somebody Else’s Child was a chilled tundra of emotive melancholy, It was memorable and prolific though. The difference between the two albums is the distinct lack of these prolific moments. The band have sacrificed symbiotic songs for critics being able to call them complicated. Because of this the album should not, and could not be considered in the same league as their last offering. It deserves a tepid rating.
The Vaccines have perhaps attached this album name ‘The Vaccines come of Age’ too early. They need to combine the lyrics from the first album and the technical prowess of the second into their third album. Then they can make a very good group of songs. Perhaps they should call that one: The Vaccines Learn from their Mistakes. Although they admit their misgivings in the first track and this goes on to define the album “There’s no hope and it’s hard to come of age”.