I didn’t know what to expect from this record, delving in after being intrigued by the video for ‘All In White’. It’s a really odd video, but the track is for sure catchy.
What I happened upon is an endearing little breakup record that is equal parts forlorn and carefree. The introductory ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ is oddly evocative of old-timey Clash, but saddly not really noteworthy beyond that.
The album really gets going with ‘If You Wanna Come Back’, which sets up the thematic center of the record. The narrator obviously misses the person, but is also clearly, after some time, moving beyond that initial point of being bummed about their situation.
One of my favorites is ‘Wetsuit‘. The chorus gets stuck in my head all the time, but it’s really the bridge of the song that is the stand-out section:
‘Nørgaard’ is a tour-de-force that is surprisingly good for clocking in at 1:39. ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ is the would-be single, propelled from good-to-great by another fantastic little bridge with a simple but elegant guitar solo over it.
‘Under Your Thumb’ has a good chorus riff, but ultimately is there as a setup to the magnum opus of the record, ‘All In White‘.
Where do I start? The ethereal opening into the bass is slick as hell, not to mention I love that the drums are mixed a little louder than most tracks so you notice them and the galloping feel they give the song. This is also the Vaccines’ guitarist Freddie Cowan at his best, if I may be permitted to say so.
Furthermore, I don’t really even know what the song is about, but something about the way the words sound is just really pleasing to the ear.
Much as it pains me to say it, this is the song White Lies should have written. This is their sound, but in 2011 we have the Vaccines putting them to shame, doing it better and making it sound easy.
‘Wolf Pack’ and ‘Family Friend’ offer a strong finish, with the latter being a mellow slow-burner that builds momentum like a snowball.
There’s also a really emotive little hidden track at the end that is not really in keeping with the rest of the tone, but works surprisingly well. It was nice to know the band has that range, should they choose to use it in the future.
What Did I Expect From The Vaccines? I not sure my expectations were especially well-formed, but in the future the answer will be “quite a lot.”