Reviewed by James Lavender
In a current pop scene dominated by dance and hip-hop, The Vaccines continue to fly the flag for rock music. The beginning of their third album, English Graffiti, is defiant in its punk sound. ‘Handsome’ is a fast-paced track which was made for an indie dancefloor. Likewise, ‘Dream Lover’ stands out as a classic rock/indie anthem and ‘Radio Bikini’ is an attack on the ears, in a good way.
However, after the first four tracks, the album takes a softer tact and shows that the band is really trying to expand their sound to include current musical influences. Listening to ‘Want You So Bad’, you get a trippier version of The Vaccines traditional sound. The harmonies on ‘Maybe I Could Hold You’ and soaring chorus of ‘Give Me A Sign’, and ‘Stranger’ represent a nod to indie bands such as Alt-J. The Vaccines have also tried experimenting with ballads such as ‘(All Afternoon) In Love’, which contains a slower, piano-driven arrangement, and the title track ‘English Graffiti’ which is a simple acoustic arrangement.
The album is really a game of two halves, with the first four tracks continuing with their revivalist-garage rock sound, which works best. The second part of the album has a more experimental sound which is aimed at a broader audience. However, I personally don’t feel as if these songs work as well. They sound unremarkable at best. That aside, The Vaccines have managed to pull off the third album test, but if they are to have longevity, they must stick to their guns rather than pander to current music trends.
Recommended Track: Dream-Lover