Monday, September 17, 2012

The Vaccines Come of Age

Christaan Felberg
Chris Payne/Rollingstone

The Vaccines' new LP might be named The Vaccines Come of Age, but don't expect a more grownup sound from the band. It's just a phrase cribbed from the album track "No Hope," where frontman Justin Young laments, "There's no hope and it's hard to come of age," right after describing himself as "twenty-four and young and bored."

"I love the bubblegum element of [the title], like Meet the Beatles," explains Young. "It refers to us as human beings rather than as a band. I feel that sentiment really sums up the record, lyrically and emotionally."

Out in the U.S. on October 2nd, Come of Age feeds off of tightly wound energy and hooky refrains. "Teenage Icon" sounds like a cross between the Ramones and a late-Fifties jukebox jam, while "I Always Knew" namechecks Frankie Avalon and rivals older cuts like "If You Wanna" and "Post Break-Up Sex" as the band's catchiest tune to date. Elsewhere, there are honest stabs at territory untouched on the Vaccines' debut, like the rockabilly groove of "Ghost Town" and the slow-burning, borderline-psychedelic "Aftershave Ocean," a song that Young says wouldn't have worked on the first record.

Written mostly on the road, the new material came to life in the studio with help from producer Ethan John (Kings of Leon, Emmylou Harris), who had been at the top of the London band's wishlist. "I've been a big fan of Ethan since I was a teen and listened to the albums he made with Whiskeytown and Ryan Adams," says Young. "He understands that great records are not perfect – they're human. We wanted to make a live record, and so he let it live – no Auto-tuning or clicks or countless attempts at overdubs. I think we made a record that really represents where the band are at right now."

Listen to 'Come of Age':

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