The Vaccines, KCLSU, London


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The Independent Culture

Now, if you've been reading your NME like the dedicated followers of disposable next big things that you are, you'll be all too aware of The Vaccines. They're the latest in a noble lineage of young men with attitude pasted onto the front cover before they've released barely any music.

Now there's a great big firestorm of hype about them, and tickets to this tiny little central London gig are suddenly very popular indeed, at least according to the number of touts shivering outside.

We're not quite at Strokes-like levels of pre-album anticipation yet, but there's a buzz around The Vaccines unlike anything we've seen since The Libertines first reared their ugly heads. The good news is that, while their music is not particularly ambitious, The Vaccines are dripping with the je ne sais quoi that makes bands big.

The secret to their success is that shared by every good band: simple, effective melodies. There's no attempt to be elaborate, and no self-indulgence of any kind – just a breathless race to the nearest chorus with every single new song. There's a surprising amount of muscle, though, that little bit extra that separates the wannabes from the contenders, and it's in this that they make their hay.

Frontman Justin Young has a lovely voice, with none of the rasp that normally accompanies ramshackle indie punk, and it's layered with reverb, another little trick that raises them above the chasing pack.

They're on and off in the blink of a gnat's whisker, rattling through a dozen or so songs all under three minutes. It all augurs towards an archetypical one-album career – their narrow indie punk focus won't bear repetition, and they'll probably melt in the heat of the hype, but they've barely released a note and the crowd is already singing back every one they play. It remains to be seen whether they'll properly break out into the mainstream, but you can guarantee that they'll never play a venue this small ever again.