It’s never been hard to see why The Vaccines’ frontman Justin Young has become one of the most sought-after songwriting collaborators with the next generation of indie: a man who knows his way around a perfect three-minute pop number; who knows how to make a chorus coincide with the throwing of many a festival pint, and a middle eight incite at least attempts at a circle pit. Sixth album ‘Pick-Up Full Of Pink Carnations’ is unsurprisingly another showcase of the singer’s sensibilities, an instant familiarity to the tracks’ pacing alongside that of his recognisable vocal.
The remaining parts come hinted at by title and record sleeve: a mis-heard lyric from Don McClean’s ‘American Pie’ and a rear-view mirror scene of a nondescript road Stateside are matched sonically with a hint of melancholic 70s AM soft rock and a smattering of ‘Born To Run’-style glockenspiel. Even at moments when the instrumentation begs to reference New Order - the guitars of ‘Discount De Kooning (Last One Standing)’; the synths of ‘Sometimes, I Swear’ - it comes via The Killers. The record peaks with the impactful, guitar-driven ‘The Dreamer’, while the couplets of ‘Sunkissed’ are second to none: “We were so in love / Booked into the Hilton / Grew my beard / To look like Dennis Wilson” being a case in point. Elsewhere it does turn into decidedly by-numbers territory - ‘Primitive Man’ and ‘Lunar Eclipse’ in particular. This isn’t necessarily one to win The Vaccines a new generation, but for those already won over, it’ll prove worth the listen.