The Vaccines, The Dublin Castle, review: The band reveal their grand-scale rock intentions

Their new material offers a synthetic slickness unlike anything the band has previous released

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The Independent Culture

The Vaccines continue to grind the gears of their comeback as they perform new songs tonight from their third studio album, English Graffiti.

As part of War Child's Passport Back To The Bars this week, The Vaccines cram themselves into the smallest venue they have played in London since their first show at Kentish Town's The Flowerpot back in 2010.

Performing at tonight's old rocker haunt in a bid raise money for the charity, it's also a chance for the four-piece to test out their new material live and break in a new guitarist.

Opening with new single, “Handsome”, Justin Hayward-Young ruffles his hair and sings lyrics like, “thank god I’m handsome” with a curled lip. That preoccupation with aesthetics is an ample way to get stuck into the new material that sees the band curating a sound previously tapped into by Arctic Monkeys or The Black Keys: The kind of slick and beefed up retro-rock that is seemingly catered for arenas and their potential American audiences.

A battery of riot-inducing hits follows from 2011 album What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? with “Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”, “If You Wanna” and “Post Break-Up Sex” providing a raw and ragged backdrop for the new songs to punctuate.

Another new number, “Want You So Bad” offers a sleazy, mid-paced groove, performed with the melancholic verve of Julee Cruise while “Dream Lover” replicates the oozing, boudoir rock of Arctic Monkey's “AM”.

With their arena sized success following five years of hard touring, The Vaccines offer a streamline performance even when squeezed into a tiny back room bar.

The new material offers a synthetic slickness unlike anything the band has previous released.

Knowingly cheesy and riotously beefed up, the band reveal their grand-scale rock intentions at tonight's one-off wrecking bar show.