After 18 months The Vaccines are back with their second album titled Come of Age. Queue multiple puns about how they have grown up and literally ‘come of age’ in terms of their musical sound. I’ll try not to be as cliched despite this being very, very true. After the first album they left us thinking ‘What DO we expect from The Vaccines?’; I for one didn’t completely know what to expect. Would they stick with the winning formula of drawling vocals from Justin Young and the traditional Arctic Monkeys-esque guitar music? Or would they try something completely different to show that they have truly developed as a band? It’s hard to answer this question directly, so I will take you through the songs and you can make your mind up.
It opens with ‘No Hope’, a solid first single that gives listeners of The Vaccines a nice transition from old to new. Justin’s indifferent, surprisingly infectious vocal tone shines through. The simple lyrics make for an instant sing-a-long – queue shouts of ‘No Hope!’ at festivals in the summer for years to come. Next is a Western style track called ‘I Always Knew’. The drum beat and twanging guitars make you expect Clint Eastwood to make an appearance (if that was possible through audio?!). An instant hit in my opinion; I found myself singing along to the later chorus’ on my first listen as if I’d heard the song many times before. The anthemic ‘Teenage Icon’ comes next. I reckon the drum beats at the beginning will become instantly recognisable.
Lyrically The Vaccines seemed to have matured a lot more, moving away from the simplistic, blatant lyrics seen in ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ from the first album. This second record seems to be a lot more inspired than the first and songs about ‘putting wetsuits on’ are a thing of the past. We reach ‘All In Vein’ and it seems like one of those tracks that is less killer, more filler. If you were going to skip it on, I wouldn’t really blame you. ‘I Wish I Was A Girl’ seems to be The Vaccines answer to Beyonce’s ‘If I Were A Boy’. Another one which lyrically is quite odd. Justin demonstrates his knowledge (how legitimate it is is yet to be confirmed) of various fashion designers as he reels them off in the track.
‘Aftershave Ocean’ reminds me a lot of an early Ok Go. Justin’s higher pitches hint towards the sounds of their album Oh No! The head swaying swing in the track makes it hard not to do as your body should and sway that head! It shows a held back band that are more composed and less willing to shred the shit out of their guitars at every given opportunity. It shows restrain and these outbursts are saved for especially poignant moments. ‘Ghost Town’ demonstrates this restrain as well, upon seeing it live at this year’s Reading Festival you can tell that the band’s new songs still have energy but are somewhat less relentless than the entirety of What Did You Expect From The Vaccines. The album finishes with the track ‘A Lonely World’ which is over 5 minutes long! Unbelievable considering the likes of ‘Norgaard’ and the relentless ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ are around the 1min30 mark. Overall a very impressive second album for the band that started out as a ‘hype band’, now the hype cloud has settled we can start to take The Vaccines very seriously as they are here to stay.