If you haven’t seen The Vaccines yet, you’re quite lucky, because they look as deep as a catalogue advertisement – especially in the photo’s where the camera man seems to have caught them mid way through a wet T-shirt competition. If it seems harsh to start an album review by commenting on a press shot, tell that to whoever decided that the press release should only read, “they prefer to let the music do the talking!” Inbetween the ‘saving guitar music’ trite headlines and the endless plugging from everyone everywhere they obviously decided that they needed to convey a sense of depth, and avoid PR-ing so many meaningless umbrella terms as has been the usual recently. With the ‘war’ between them and Sony VS Universal’s Geffen and their Brother act raging fierce, any spin wins. Unlike the former act, they do deserve some credit, because they have crafted a bearable album of pop nuggets.
The first four tracks, like a majority of them, on What…don’t pass the three minute mark, which is definitely a thumbs up seeing as they’re on a head on collision with the pop markets. Lyrically, they don’t get far past romantic laments, ‘Wetsuit”s chorus literally is about the title theme, and growing your hair long or something. It doesn’t really matter though, as an organ buzzes below, drums crash around Arcade Fire style and guitars all add a big, stadium atmosphere – the arching ‘feeling’ is what’s been considered here, as oppose to the finer details within the lyrics or musicality. ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ repeats this ‘do what it says on the tin’ process; though sounds far too smug to have that Morrissey self-deprivation spin they were obviously looking to emulate.
‘Norgaard’ is Vampire Weekend on a dose of speed. New wave influences are always just below the surface throughout. Especially the New York punk vibe, which means that there’s always an American feel to the record. Considering that they were meant to be a ‘British guitar band’ my ears are feeling a bit cheated.
There’s nothing bad enough here to make you spew, but then there’s not enough to make you applaud. Which is the problem. Just above average, but annoyingly so – which is really why everyone’s just going to talk about their press shots when the initial buzz wears off. ‘What did you expect from post break-up sex?’ they ask, eluding to the LP’s title, well in response, I’d say a feeling much like the one you gain from this album really.
From Nicholas Burman.