Saturday 26 November 2011

The Vaccines - Wetsuit/Tiger Blood

Single review by KevW

This article also appears on

No band this year has divided opinion quite like The Vaccines, with some declaring them to be over-hyped public schoolboys who shouldn't be considered authentic, snaring groups of hipsters who hang on NME's every word with baited breath. Others prefer to look beyond the excessive coverage, disregard the notion that rock 'n' roll is solely the birth right of the working classes and are happy to enjoy what they believe to be a great batch of guitar-pop tunes. Here at The Sound Of Confusion  things are no different; Andy dismissed them long ago, but I fall into the second category.

Signing to a major won't have done them any favours in the credibility stakes, but surely the only way music should be judged is on whether or not it sounds any good, right? If you don't like them then make sure it's for the tunes rather than superficial reasons. Of course differences of opinion are by no means a new thing when it comes to music and, frankly, the world would be a less colourful place without them. One thing is almost certain: whatever your feelings towards The Vaccines, they are not seminal, nor any kind of saviours of indie music. What they are is a decent band with some very fine tunes in their armoury.

'Wetsuit' is not only a suitable way to round up what has undeniably been a great year for them, it's also a fitting way to conclude the campaign for their debut album. Following the punky pop clatter of their singles so far, this more emotional, sentimental number seems apt with its lyrics about change, good things coming to an end and the fight to recapture lost youth. It's undoubtedly one of the highlights from 'What Did You Expect...' and may show the haters that they have more than just the one trick.

It will be their next step that will make or break them. The follow up album can't be a simple repeat of the first, they need to step up a gear and add more substance. New track 'Tiger Blood' is probably a poor indicator of the band's future direction. It feels more like the fulfilment of a dream than a statement of intent, having been recorded in New York by their hero Albert Hammond Jr. It's a pleasant enough track but essentially they're playing Strokes karaoke. So, nothing life-changing, but if you can let your inhibitions go you'll find much to enjoy from The Vaccines, not least these two songs, and, really, where's the harm in that?

The Vaccines' website

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  1. Just to be clear, I don't think they're 'public schoolboys who shouldn't be considered authentic' - Working class, upper class, club class, Myleene Klass, it makes no odds to me - I just think they're a bit rubbish!

  2. Yeah fair enough - it wasn't you who mentioned the class thing - that was on soundsxp and the review was written to go on there too!

  3. Yeah I know, I just don't want all those stuck up moneyed toffs who read this blog thinking I have a box of microwave chips on my working class shoulder!!!*

    *only joking readers.