Poor The Vaccines. Every review of every album is cursed to feature the same phrase. What exactly do we expect from them? Now more than ever, though, it’s a valid question. While their first two albums saw them embark on a steep upward curve that culminated in a Number One, certified gold record; with their 2013 ‘Melody Calling’ EP they stepped firmly into critically acclaimed territory. Something changed.
‘English Graffiti’ isn’t ‘Melody Calling’ in album form: it’s far more diverse than that. The Vaccines still know how to write a direct hit - ‘Handsome’, with it’s opening “oh God oh God oh God” panic attack, is still an indie-tastic thrash - but they’ve got other gears too. ‘Gimme A Sign’ is the real revelation. Starting like a triumphant take on Justin Timberlake’s ‘Mirrors’, before dropping down to acoustic heartbreaker, then back up to stadium sized, arms aloft, goose-bump inducing chorus - this is a band able to play pop magpies of the highest grade.
From now on, we’ll expect only the best from The Vaccines.