Album Review: English Graffiti / The Vaccines

London-bred band The Vaccines first sprung on to the scene in 2011 following the release of their debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? which, as the best-selling debut album of 2011, cemented their popularity. Now 2015 and a second bestselling album later, album number three English Graffiti is released to critical acclaim, and is maybe not quite what we expected from The Vaccines.

While albums one and two essentially involved the same mix of upbeat indie rock, English Graffiti hears the band breaking new ground with the help of producers Dave Fridmann and Cole MGN. Opening track Handsome provides a boisterous, energetic launch that doesn’t stray too far from the band’s earlier 2011 sound, but track two, Dream Lover sees The Vaccines’ reinvention really begin to show, with the slick five-note riff creating a positively anthemic number.

The album sees swift transitions from fast-paced summer tunes to endearing melodic numbers, creating an eclectic mix that somehow just works. The retro-surf sound of 20/20 and Radio Bikini epitomises summer-feeling and draws comparisons to the likes of The Beach Boys and The Ramones, whilst the melancholy –sounding yet gorgeously silky (All Afternoon) In Love is of a dreamlike, easy listening nature. Different still, the giant, uplifting chorus of Give Me A Sign is almost boyband-esque and completely brilliant.

Ultimately English Graffiti combines a bit of old with a lot of new and has certainly seen The Vaccines come of age, be it for better or worse and questionable to some. Regardless of mixed opinions, the band and their album – which will be released tomorrow – have proven that we can never truly know what to expect from The Vaccines..

Rating: 9/10

Words by Tabitha Green


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