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November 2020

The Beginner's Guide To... The Vaccines

What did you expect?
Published: 9:27 am, April 03, 2018
The Beginner's Guide To... The Vaccines
The Vaccines are part indie darlings, part revivalist rockers who have been mining a pretty rich vein of bangers since their debut album back in 2011. Their fourth album ‘Combat Sports’ dropped this past Friday 30th March, and next week they will set off on a UK tour that will wrap up at Alexandra Palace on the 14th.

Don’t stress if you’re not quite up to speed, though. We’ve got your back with this handy beginner’s guide. We’re such good friends.
So. What should you expect from the Vaccines?


If You Wanna
Who knew heartbreak could be so bouncy? ‘If You Wanna’ is what we’d call ‘peak Vaccines’, with that rolling bass intro, punchy percussion, and jaunty (yes, jaunty) guitar riff. We defy anyone not to bounce along to such a catchy indie break-up banger.
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Justin Young’s smooth vocal really puts this one over the top. The Christmas Carol-y drums are great too, not to mention the soaring backing vocal harmonies. With lines like ‘we all got old at breakneck speed’, ‘Wetsuit’ is practically custom made for end-of-an-era style brooding. Seriously. Whack it on at the end of summer and see how much cooler it makes your moodiness.
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Teenage Icon
Sometimes, you’ve just got to celebrate your ordinariness (yes, it’s a word). ‘Teenage Icon’ is an anthem for punk rock posers everywhere, with twitchy guitarwork and lyrics about being, you know, secretly sort of average.
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Dream Lover
Justin Young himself said ‘Dream Lover’ was the best pop song the Vaccines had ever written when their third album ‘English Graffiti’ came out back in 2015. And, well, it is a pop tune and a half. On ‘Dream Lover’ the Vaccines wander away from straight-up indie, playing with more synths and distortion.
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I Can’t Quit
The first single off ‘Combat Sports’ blends some of the distortion from ‘English Graffiti’ and the angst of ‘Come of Age’ with a headbanging kind of energy. There are also those twitchy, fizzing guitars again and great, driving percussion.
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What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?
The Vaccines’ debut is brimming with youthful exuberance. Both band and songs were clean-cut and shiny, which meant ‘What Did You Expect From…’ gave us a string of delightful indie bangers.

Come of Age
As the title suggests, album number two had the Vaccines maturing a little bit. ‘Come of Age’ was slightly angstier than its predecessor, and saw the band adrift in the quarter-life crises of their mid-20s. But, you know, with banging riffs and stuff.

English Graffiti
In an interview around the album’s release, Justin Young said he wanted it to sound like it could only have been made in 2015. It’s still a bit early to see if that will hold, but it’s true that ‘English Graffiti’ is markedly different than both ‘Come of Age’ and ‘What Did You Expect From…’, with higher distortion making it a lot more rock and / or roll.

Combat Sports
The Vaccines’ new album is an energetic blend of distorted rock and roll, indie, and synth elements - a sort of pick and mix of the best bits they’ve picked up along the way. Oh, and there’s some organ on it, too. Why not?

The Vaccines' album 'Combat Sports' is out now.

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