For fans of: Jay Jay Pistolet, Drowners, The Wombats, Broken Bells
What do we expect from the Vaccines? Some things that remain steadfast are simple lyrics, short run times, and fun beats behind their music. On English Graffitti, the boys haven’t evolved much from their simple garage rock, but they have experimented with the beach-rock sound they’re known for. Stylistically the album jumps around a lot, but they don’t demand much from the listeners. Easily consumed, the songs lack the paunch to stick around.
Justin Young, the singer, told NME: “I wanted to make a record that was important in 2015 and sounded like 2015.” The band wasn’t concerned with creating a timeless record. Casually, that’s a conflicting statement to avid music fans, whose years are strongly tied to the sounds they’ve heard and loved and grown to.
If this album were to represent a decade in the band’s career, it would be the equivalent of the 80’s. The two albums released previously (2011’s What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? and 2012’s Come of Age) were a less confusing time for them. They seem more conscious of what they want to be, regardless of what they say they’re aiming for, and miss the mark.
The opening track, “Handsome,” is clever and danceable. “Dream Lover” continues to build with the catchy instrumentals, and “Minimal Affection” sounds like something you’d jam to in your car over summer. “20/20” picks up the pace and feels like a race. Fans will appreciate the similarities to “Norgaard,” a track off of the 2011 album.
In “(All Afternoon) in Love,” the synth gets weird and distracting. The lyrics don’t capture attention. The other tracks are short and forgettable, besides “Give Me A Sign,” which just has an awkward as hell ending.
In “Denial,” Young sings, “Please don’t turn the light out / I don’t think the conversation’s over.” His plea for attention could be construed for this album as well. We’ll have to see if the Vaccines redeem themselves in their next studio effort.
Recommended listening: “Denial,” “Want You So Bad,” 20/20″