The Vaccines

Come of Age

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2011's much hyped What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? had some solid moments that skillfully blended the snarky dissatisfaction of the Kaiser Chiefs with the stadium-ready, sonic expansiveness of late-period Jesus and Mary Chain, but the overall effect was one of calculated redundancy. Like the Kaisers, the Vaccines feel like a singles band trying to hold out for a solid greatest-hits collection, and Come of Age, while not as immediate as its predecessor, gets the job done with workmanlike precision. Come of Age dispenses with the bombast of the band’s debut, offering up 11 relatively disparate tracks that aim for the main floor instead of the nosebleed seats, and at its best (“Teenage Icon," “Bad Mood,” “Aftershave Ocean”), it serves as a serviceable stand-in for the Libertines, the Arctic Monkeys, and the Strokes of the world. The band's statement of purpose is summed up nicely in the first stanza of the ramshackle opener "No Hope," which finds Justin Young declaring "I could make an observation/If you want the voice of a generation/but I'm too self absorbed to give it clout." It’s a fitting summary of what in essence is the job description for what the Vaccines do, and while they’re certainly not alone in their crusade to provide an appropriate soundtrack for the "meh" generation, they’ve got it down to an elementary science. Simplistic, smart ass lyrics paired with simplistic, semi-ironic melodies will always be relevant, and by turning down the reverb, learning some new chords, and laying to waste any notion that they're here to herald in a new era of English guitar rock, the Vaccines have crafted a perfectly acceptable sophomore record that neither helps nor harms them, which is probably exactly what they wanted.

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