“We want our new album to sound terrible in ten years.”
An interesting viewpoint taken by the English indie-rock band, The Vaccines, on their third studio album, English Graffiti. The Vaccines, who have opened up for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Arctic Monkeys, seem to have to have gone with the trend seemingly favoured by most bands releasing new material in 2015 – and begun to deviate slowly from their original sound.
Lead singer Justin Young has stated he wants English Graffiti to be “genre defining” another interesting statement from the band, given the fact that the album seems to leap all over the map in terms of musical content. From head-banging rock tracks right down to whimsy, piano-laced ballads – and everything in between.
The entire album seems to revolve around the central theme of love in all its forms. This is something new for The Vaccines given that their previous work was as all over the map with lyrical content as English Graffiti is with sonic content. Despite that, however, there still remains a slight central sonic theme: catchy rhythms captured by bouncy guitar riffs and frantic drums.
“Handsome”, the opening track and lead single is a little too much on the senses all at once. A wildly honest introduction into the new project and a little bit of a slap in the face for some, it sets a strange opening tone for the album and leaves you almost too nervous to proceed.
“Dream Lover” has a dystopian-like five-note guitar riff not unlike something straight out of a futuristic action film. You can almost see the black-clad men striding in slow motion from the smoking debris of whatever it is they have just conquered. And then there is “Minimal Affections”, a four-minute electro-pop piece simply rolling in synths and relatively calmer waters.
At other times, the whole album slows down with Beatles-like, sixties-styled tracks. “All Afternoon In Love”, a floaty piano ballad brimming with echoing vocals, is strongly reminiscent of Lennon; and “Want You So Bad” has all the little Beatles-esque touches you need, well-blended with eighties rock ‘n roll – and punctuated by some random hair-raising moments.
The songs can tend to bleed into one another if you aren’t paying much attention, the guitar work of each track all being very similar. This is not necessarily a bad thing however, and lends itself to the overall flow of the album.
“Undercover” winds everything down again to bring English Graffiti to a gentle close. A simple two minute instrumental piece unusually bereft of any vocals, which leads you gently by the hand into the timely silence following the final notes.