It’s amazing what a group of four British boys can do with guitars. Arising from a long list of iconic British foursomes whose names begin with “the” — The Clash, The Smiths, The Libertines, to name a few — The Vaccines are the most recent to conquer the landscape of youth culture. Embodying the insubordination and romantic urges that seem to rouse Brits in their early twenties, the band ticks all the boxes when it comes to being U.K. rock heroes.
The Vaccines’ second album, Come of Age, is packed with instant classics. Every song is a candid and galvanizing account of the prime years of youth. More than unruly guitars and popped collars, what characterizes the top Brits is astute and insightful lyricism. Singer Justin Young is remarkably cogent in his depiction of infatuation, frustration and the need to feel important. Tracks like “No Hope” and “All In Vain” perfectly express the juvenile sentiment of insignificance. Meanwhile, “I Always Knew” and “Lonely World” encapsulate the ardent need for romance and affection.
Stylistically, Come of Age extends the British tradition of dynamic, guitar-driven songwriting. Though markedly less brash than the band’s first album, this record is brimful of captivating guitar progressions and melodic charisma. “Teenage Icon” starts with an off-the-wall combination of riff and melody, before bursting into an explosively catchy chorus. In the more intimate “Aftershave Ocean,” the lead guitar parts closely parallel Young’s singing, almost as if flirting with his words.
A stellar sophomore effort, Come of Age appropriately sees The Vaccines mature into one of the most relevant groups around. The record gives voice once more to the youthful impulses that make indie-rock, particularly its British brand, so compelling. The Vaccines are the cure to the ailing indie music scene and a new band to rally behind.
Contact Eytan Schindelhaim at [email protected]