The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? (Music Review)
The Vaccines have a sound equally influenced by 70’s punk and 80’s synth, with lyrics that sometimes dip into the sleazy, dangerous territory of The Raveonettes. These elements meld surprisingly well on their debut release What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? The punk elements keep the slower songs straightforward and emotional, without dipping into any boring or navel-gazing territory, and the other elements ensure that the harder songs are clear and well-produced enough to be accepted by a mainstream audience.
“Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” and “Norgaard” are Ramones-influenced gems, which barely take three minutes when played back to back. These are the rare songs that can remain fun even when they stay stuck in your head for days. The bulk of the songs are in a slower style, with sparse arrangements around singer Justin Young’s deep, smooth voice. In songs like “Wetsuit” and “Post Break-Up Sex”, he provides a youthful approximation of soulfulness. while slightly more energetic ones like “Blow It Up” tinge the clean production with a garage influence. Somewhere in between the band’s extremes, the mid-tempo “If You Wanna” provides a bouncy beat and timeless sound, with a radio-ready message of break-up pain. (“I don’t wanna see you with another guy, but the fact is that I may. That’s what all the friends I do not like as much as you say.”)
This album has some of the best pop treasures of the year, but even at its short half hour runtime, it seems like the band have run through all their tricks by the end. It’s not immediately obvious how they will manage to follow this up without either becoming boring or abandoning their simple elegance. Even if The Vaccines’ career ends up being as fleeting as the youth and the lusts they portray, though, at least this album will preserve them.