Album of the week: The Vaccines, Come of Age (Columbia)
Sunday 02 September 2012
Few things are less edifying than the angst of the armigerous. The Vaccines – essentially, the Shoreditch Strokes – have had all the time in the world to come up with a mindblowing new direction for their music. Instead, they've come up with an album which whines about its lot in life in an utterly traditional and expensively designer-scuffed way.
Once in a while, they strike melodic gold: for example, the 1950s-flavoured "I Always Knew", even if it is basically British Sea Power's "No Lucifer" crossed with Elton John's "Crocodile Rock".
There's an undercurrent of sentimentalism running through Come of Age, from the weeping George Harrison guitar line of "All in Vain" to the Teenage Fanclub chords of "Aftershave Ocean". But originality is hard to come by. "Wish I Was a Girl" travels over lyrical territory already walked by the Manics and Mansun on top of a tune that echoes Patti Smith. And Justin Young's complaints and confessions – he admits to being "out of shape with messy hair" and "disobliging and faulty by design" – leave this listener cold.
After all, it's easy to sing about being a loser when your birth certificate was a winning ticket in the lottery of life.
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