The Vaccines – Come of Age
(Sony Records)

Words: Jordan Catalana

Excuse my bluntness, but this album kicks ass. Come of Age is an appropriate name for the sophomore album of a band that is trying desperately to figure out where it fits in the rock spectrum. Wedged somewhere between indie and unapologetic guitar rock, 2011’s What Did You Expect? kicked ass in its own right but failed to set a clear direction for its follow-up. Sharing WDYE?’s honest, no-nonsense, attitude-driven blurts of energy and enthusiasm, Come of Age is the perfect—or as close to perfect as possible—successor. Though the Vaccines have yet to carve a place for themselves within a definitive genre, Come of Age has ensured that they are well aware of one thing: the Vaccines are just a no-excuses, no-frills, honest rock and roll band making music, playing music, and having a lot of fucking fun in the process.

Poppy, rocky, generally not giving a fuck, the UK boys redirected their stream of wit, toe-tapping tempos and signature “ooooOH’s” into eleven new songs about life, youth, fame, and the lack of all three that read as a diary of the band’s post-“Post Break-Up Sex” fame. “Teenage Icon” is a quintessential Vaccines tune that put the band in their places explicitly: “I’m no teenage icon/I’m no Frankie Avalon/ I’m nobody’s hero/oh-oh-ohhhhh” and I can’t help but think that front man Justin Young meant it to be a big “F you” to someone less-than-appreciative of his rock and roll recklessness. “No Hope” is another killer tune, my favorite on the record. Do yourself a favor and listen to it. Loudly.

Concert goers in America and across the pond can also rejoice and thank Come of Age for giving our favorite loudmouths from London enough material to play a show longer than travel time to the venue (72 minute set in September vs. 54 minutes in April—score!).

The Vaccines might still be trying to figure out exactly in which direction they are moving, but as long as they are still writing unapologetic choruses and undeniably dance-worthy music, they might not really need to draw any lines. After enjoying the shit out of their debut, I received exactly what I expected the band to deliver in Come of Age: agenda-less narcissistic pop rock and a good fucking time.


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