Here’s what to expect from The Vaccines‘ debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?: a modern-day Ramones sound mixed with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and an attitude reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys. While many tracks are short in length (the first single, “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”, clocks in at only 1:24), the whole album hits like a punch to the face – only you’ll ask for another. The London rockers will be much obliged to help you out there.
Speaking of punches, they hardly pull ’em on “Blow Up”, arguably the strongest track of the bunch. The track begins with a dark guitar riff that offers vocalist Justin Young a chance to deliver his best performance, which he does. When he howls, “Blow, blow, blow it up/Blow it up/Blow it up,” it’s as if he’s attempting to gnaw at the moon, hitting the highest notes a singer of his caliber he can reach. “Post Break-Up Sex” is a track for the desperate, heartbroken individuals, who’ll no doubt champion Young’s puerile lyrics (“Post break-up sex/to help you forget your ex/what did you expect?/from post break-up sex”) over shots of whiskey…alone. It’s not the most clever of choruses, but it nails its point as the song takes a very literal look at the breakup process.
If we’re to answer the album’s title, it’s with a simple retort: This and that. Because of this, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? ends up being an enjoyable debut. Whether the band is being serious (“Family Friend”, “A Lack of Understanding”) or attempting pop (“If You Wanna”, “Norgaard”), they make it work. As it is, The Vaccines are a welcome break from the dance pop and electronic garbage dominating the airwaves currently. And while they won’t snuggle with your more radio-friendly tunes, their music offers an enviable alternative, instead. The Vaccines are clenching onto rock and roll, and this album is an amicable chapter in the genre. Amicable.