The Vaccines, “English Graffiti”
For their third LP, The Vaccines set out to make an album that would sound great today and “terrible in ten years,” according to frontman Justin Young. It seems that instead of achieving that goal, they’ve made a milquetoast album that falls somewhere comfortably between great and terrible. Clocking in at a taut thirty-five minutes, English Graffiti kicks off in a properly jarring way with the rambunctious shouts of “Handsome” and rolls into the booming riffs of “Dream Lover.” Around the halfway mark the album loses steam as the boys try to show their tender side with the sultry “Want You So Bad” and the mopey and obvious “(All Afternoon) In Love.” On English Graffiti, the foursome seems less concerned with the music and more focused on maintaining the perfect image of what a cool British rock band should be. Think less louche despair, more grandiose rock ambition, but just as many leather jackets as before. Sigh.