thevaccines

Every few years, a guitar band forms and swaggers up the charts on the strength of music that captures the UK's youthful zeitgeist. In 2011, that group was the Vaccines, whose debut album, What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?, referenced the Smiths, Glasvegas, and Interpol as it tackled messy breakups, ill-advised hook-ups, and general romantic malaise.

For its second album, the aptly titled Come of Age (Columbia), the quartet turned to producer Ethan Johns, who's known for his work with Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, and Kaiser Chiefs. Johns was at the top of the Vaccines' wish-list of collaborators from the start, according to frontman Justin Young. "We wanted to find our identity and our place in rock's vast landscape," he says via email as the band's tour rolls through Australia. "And we wanted to develop character. Ethan's records all have tons of that. Aside from sounding sonically amazing, I always feel like I know the artist a lot better by the time I have reached the end of a record he has produced."

Come of Age certainly has more confidence and a crisper sound than What Did You Expect..., perhaps because the Vaccines recorded the album live. It's also more diverse: spindly rockabilly riffs, some swampy blues strutting, and exuberant surf-punk alternate with nods to the Libertines' arch Britrock ("No Hope," "Ghost Town"), soulful mod-pop (the Noel Gallagher-esque "All in Vain"), and oddball country ("Weirdo").

Accordingly, Young's lyrics on Come of Age also reveal greater self-assurance. "It's a record about struggling to come to terms with the reality of life and growing up," he says. While the songs address sex and love in the modern world, they also aren't afraid to be brutally frank about feeling prematurely old, experiencing ego-deflation, or dealing with loneliness.

"I like to be honest and simple," he says. "I think when you feel strongly about something, you're rarely eloquent. You just say what you think, and I wanted to do that. If you want people to emotionally invest in what you do then you have to be honest with them. If I don't believe in what I'm saying, how can anyone else? It's an incredibly therapeutic experience, too."

In the end, though, the Vaccines are refreshingly realistic when it comes to their expectations for Come of Age — and their career. "I think we just wanted to grow as a band," Young says. "I don't think we're under any illusions that we're the best band in the world. But we want to be. And I think we all saw this record as the next step on a long path. Obviously, we want to entertain people too. It's important for us to get the right balance between art and entertainment. We wanted to make a pop record."

>> ANNIE@ANNIEZ.COM

THE VACCINES + SAN CISCO:: Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston :: January 29 @ 7 pm :: 18+ :: $17 :: 617.562.8800 or thedise.com :: WFNX PRESENTS: THE VACCINES :: Live at the Museum of Fine Arts, January 29 :: Listen to WFNX.com to win passes

  Topics: Music Features , Music, Pop, the Vaccines,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ANNIE ZALESKI
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WHAT'S F'N NEXT? FIDLAR  |  March 19, 2013
    Ask FIDLAR bassist Brandon Schwartzel some basic questions about his band, and his answers reflect more than a bit of weariness with the rigmarole of publicity and music journalism.
  •   THE EMPOWERMENT OF KATE NASH  |  March 05, 2013
    Singer-songwriter Kate Nash was recently named a Global Ambassador for the Because I Am a Girl initiative, which aims to give females in developing countries the opportunity for a better life.
  •   DESAPARECIDOS EXPERIENCE REBIRTH  |  February 20, 2013
    In 2001, Desaparecidos were just another band formed by Conor Oberst, already a veteran of the Omaha music scene at the tender age of 21.
  •   THERE’S HOPE FOR THE VACCINES  |  January 23, 2013
    Every few years, a guitar band forms and swaggers up the charts on the strength of music that captures the UK's youthful zeitgeist.
  •   THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF ELLIE GOULDING  |  January 18, 2013
    Long before Ellie Goulding hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in summer 2012 with "Lights" — a starry-eyed dance-floor trifle with subtle neo-disco beats and sleek keyboard burbles — the singer-songwriter was a star in her native England.

 See all articles by: ANNIE ZALESKI