First Spin... - May 23, 2015

First Spin… The Vaccines’ English Graffiti
by Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

First Spin… The Vaccines’ English Graffiti

The Vaccines return with their brand new album English Graffiti, an album that it’s fair to say is a bit of a step up.

The band’s first album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines was a jagged blast of stripped back indie rock and roll, big on tunes, massive on choruses, low on production values. They followed that just a year later with The Vaccines Come Of Age, an album written in hotel rooms on their frenzied first touring cycle and recorded quickly in Belgium. It took the band to new heights, even allowing them to headline the O2 Arena, but again, it’s a blast of energy, a rootsy rock and roll record. This time the band have set out to do something different.

Their third album English Graffiti saw the band working with Dave Fridmann, the Flaming Lips’ drummer and producer to the likes of Spoon, MGMT and Sleater Kinney, and Cole M. Greif-Neill, who has worked with the likes of Ariel Pink and Nite Jewel. It’s a richer record, with more depth, more power and more ambition, but it’s got just as many massive choruses.

And we’ve gone and reviewed every track…



The album bursts into life with a writhing, rhythmic rocker, kicking in with a distorted bassline and driving percussion, this has the vibe of an early rock and roll single with just that extra bit of bite. So far, so classic Vaccines.


‘Dream Lover’

If the opener is in familiar territory, then this is very new territory. Bombastic percussion, a big power chord underpinning the whole thing, it’s slow, it’s deliberate and swaggering. This is a very different Vaccines.


‘Minimal Affection’

Another left turn, this tune is built round like a slinky, almost Chic like guitar riff, bubbling bass and a hazy chorus, the kind Dandy Warhols spent most of their career perfecting. Wonderful.



This starts out with a skittering guitar riff that might have been written to soundtrack a 1960s cartoon before morphing into a driving piece of Ramones esque powerpop.


‘(All Afternoon) In Love’

Now this is different. Beginning with just a piano before it’s joined by singer Justin Young’s vocals, feed through a weave of effects, this is almost a Burt Bacharach style ballad. It’s great though.



You can really hear Fridmann’s influence on this track; dissonant sounds, muffled voices and a build of hand claps to a swooning pop chorus. This is The Vaccines go psychedelic…


‘Want You Some Bad’

This is another slow burner, this feels heavily inspired by the trippier end of The Beatles and The La’s, it’s a little bit soulful too, which is no bad thing.


‘Radio Bikini’

This is more traditional Vaccines fayre, a rollicking slice of pop rock with a real bounce and pace. After a few slow ones, this is an adrenaline shot straight to the heart.


‘Maybe I Could Hold You’

Another slow burner and very reminiscent of the later tracks on the Arctic Monkeys’ AM. Full of cooing vocals and a swirling guitar wall, this would make an excellent soundtrack to a late night back at home after an evening on the tiles.


‘Give Me A Sign’

This is a proper arms in the air anthem with a chorus that's designed to sung back by thousands and thousands of people. It’ll be stuck in your head for weeks.



A short little instrumental vignette to close the album, it’s ever so dreamy…


The Vaccines’ new album English Graffiti will be released on Monday (May 25th).

The band will be performing live and meeting fans at 363 Oxford Street on Monday and will be signing in three other hmv stores. Click here for full details.

English Graffiti (available in-store & at hmvdigital from 25 May)
English Graffiti (available in-store & at hmvdigital from 25 May) The Vaccines

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