The Vaccines “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” LP

So, aside from the fact that the return of my Rega turntable amounted to something bordering farce (see story below) there was one nice sidebar to the story: the first LP back played on it was What Did You Expect From The Vaccines.

As anyone who has been reading NME for the last 6 months or so knows, The Vaccines are the next band you love.

Thing about carrying that burden is, most groups aren’t up to it.

Good news is this: neither are The Vaccines. They could care less about such accolades. Don’t want them. The result is just this – an excellent record.

Start with the title – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? The band knows how silly all this pre-hysteria is, and they’ve rolled with it, and rolled their eyes to it.

Here is the LP, they say. What did you expect? Which gives them a nice out. If it’s great, it’s great. If not, shame on you for buying into the publicity. What did you expect?

Well, what you get is more of the exact same as The Vaccines have dished out prior.

If not familiar with the band, page down a bit and read the review of the “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” single, as the album mostly follows its forumla: The Jesus & Mary Chain, filtered through the Ramones, with a few slower tunes here and there, all overproduced by Phil Spector.

Side one is flawless. Kicks off smartly with “Wreckin’ Bar.” So rather than make a new fan wait for it, The Vaccines basically give you the main course first. And why the fuck not?

And while maybe never topping it, at least 2 cuts are its equal – the second track “If You Wanna,” and the manic “Norgaard” (maybe my favorite cut on the record, in fact.) “Wet Suit” and “Blow It Up,” are very nearly, if not at, that same quality level.

This accounts for all but one of the cuts on side one, and “Lack of Understanding,” the hold-out, is really better than most anything else on any other guitar band from England’s recent outpourings.

Side two seems to lose a little energy, but is more of the same – it does start out with my least favorite cut (probably) in “Post Break-up Sex.” It’s not that bad, but having heard it before, and not being impressed with it originally, nothing much has changed my opinion. It’s kind of a slower, more deliberate tune, as is its successor “Under My Thumb.” Both are lacking the joie de vivre  that most of the other cuts contain – they are still very Spector, but a Ramoneless Spector.

Redeemed by the really nice slow grower, the “Leader of the Pack”-like mid-tempo anthem “All in White,” and the chipper bounceback “Wolf Pack” (and most every other cut on the record though) these two aforementioned songs are the forgivable kind of failures.

Listen, I feel as stupid as anyone about raving about this record, maybe it’s not that good, and maybe I’m really bored with most music these days (I am) but The Vaccines have already tipped their hand at what they sound like, and what kind of record they could make if they wanted to. And they went out and did it.

It is no more and no less than what “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” promised. What was expected, as it turns out, was what was delivered.

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