The London indie popsters are back with difficult second album Come Of Age, and come of age they do on this record. Or at least, they start to. A handful of songs reflecting the hedonistic life of a bunch of boys living the dream can only reveal so much growing up while life is mostly lived through one good time to the next.
This is present on lead single No Hope, which contains the album title in its lyrics. A fun, poppy, seemingly in offensive song, No Hope captures the youth of today: “When you’re young and bored and 24/And don’t know who you are/There is no hope,” not to mention Justin Young’s unashamed description of the self-obsessed, apathetic and unmotivated yet also intelligent and underestimated youth he perceives himself as. The Vaccines do a good job of making an up-tempo, happy sounding song from downbeat ideas and experiences.
Other highlights of the album include Bad Mood and I Wish I Was a Girl. The former was debuted at festivals this year, securing a desired toe tapping, mindless jumping effect. The latter offers a bitter, if albeit a bit weird take on the opposite sex. Both are laced with self-doubt, anger and all those other nasty emotions you feel when you’re in the process of growing up, or at least on the road to maturity.
From the haunting chant of Ghost Town to the brilliantly catchy Teenage Icon, The Vaccines know how to do indie pop justice. Some songs omit a post Strokes/Libertines vibe, matching infectious hooks with witty lyrics, sewn together with memorable riffs. However many feel that a second album should provide something bigger and better, or at least offer something different. And while Come Of Age is not a direct imitation of indie giants past, it is strikingly similar to their debut album.
Having set the bar high already with What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, one could be forgiven for thinking Justin Young et al were beginning to stagnate. But for a band that haven’t seemed to progress, they’ve produced 40 minutes worth of fabulous new songs. Consistency goes a long way, especially with an album titled Come Of Age, not Look How Grown Up And Better We Got.