The Vaccines’ newest album is undoubtedly one for this decade, despite having heavy influences from decades past. The album, “English Graffiti,” is rife with typical garage rock elements (guitar riffs, pounding drums and angst) along with synthesizers and a strong 80s influence. Moreover, while it can’t compete with the likes of Arctic Monkey’s “AM,” The Vaccines have managed to create an indie rock album that sounds both eclectic and complete — an impressive feat for any band.
The first song of the album, “Handsome,” is definitely a banger. The first 30 seconds alone are worth listening to on repeat. Hell, they’re even a pretty good insight into the album itself. After starting off with some loud and heavy guitar riffs (backed up of course by equally heavy drums beats), the song fades into lead singer Justin Young’s voice as he sings “Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god …” as if he were Joey Ramone.
“Handsome” is emblematic of the album’s fantastic fusion of modern indie rock and classic punk, but that’s not to say that other songs don’t reach the same level.
The second song, “Dream Lover,” is a slower, more confident and more sultry song that echoes the themes of both love and sex present throughout the album. Its laid-back melodiousness stands as a contrast to the quick pace and anxiousness of “Handsome.”
In its refrain, lead singer Young coolly sings, “With a hollow embrace / lets go back to your place. / Uncover the lover, / you cannot replace.”
Always straight to the point, The Vaccines prove that they’ve mastered the grimier, more stereotypical rock and roll behavior typical of the current indie genre.
“20/20” is by far the most Two Door Cinema Club-like song that has ever been performed by a band that wasn’t themselves Two Door Cinema Club. Hollow vocals and synthesizers abound in this testament to all things Brit-rock. The melancholy vibe throughout “20/20” puts the “English” in “English Graffiti.” The fact that The Vaccines somehow manage to embody the musical trademarks of so many of their UK-based indie rock counterparts, yet retain their own style through their clever lyrics, is a testament to the success of the album.
“English Graffiti” is a great listen for enthusiasts of English indie rock, as The Vaccines definitely stay true to the genre throughout the album. If anything, it’s a little too similar to its counterparts — certain tracks are so similar to early Arctic Monkeys tracks that you almost forget this isn’t Alex Turner you’re listening to. But, what it lacks in raw originality, it makes up for in quality. The Vaccines are on their way up, and “English Graffiti” is solid proof of that promise.
RECOMMENDED: If you like rock stuff like Arctic Monkeys, this album is definitely recommended.