I don't like this album cover. I don't know whether it's the guy in the back pretending to like The Ramones, or the geezah at the front who looks like he's escaped from a mental hospital. It could be the short hair cut and denim jacket of the girl on the right. It might just be me, but I don't like the colour, the dark red does not match the black and white. It's not a meaningful album cover to me. It's an indication of fake cultural differences and exploitation in today's music. Screw the pre-release hype, throw all the previous years work out of the window. The Vaccines have returned, and they're here to tell us why they have returned.
The sophomore album, the hardest of the bunch. The Vaccines made a pure indie rock debut album with 2011's 'What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?'. What would you expect from The Vaccines this time around? I for one expect a more mature sound with deeper, darker tracks about what went wrong before??? Perhaps this is what Come of Age is all about, but I don't think this is what they tried to achieve. I have seen The Vaccines live and I can tell you, the average age of the huge 4 / 5,000 audience was about 16. That's their target audience. Forgive me if I'm wrong or offencive, but that's kind of perverted given The Vaccines members are what? Mid twenties.
Come of Age isn't the album The Vaccines wanted it to be. I know they wanted to get away from that 'indie band' persona. Well, they sort of have.. But they took the wrong junction off the motorway. It's as if they've taken a U-turn. 'No Hope' is an electric rock anthem. It does have many variations and clear vocals. The guitar progression is far more mature than anything on the debut album. The drumming and lead guitar bring them back down to indie rock, but even then they sound rather refined and... Contemporary. They're a British rock band from London for Christs sake, not an American band from Alabama. No Hope does have a banging, self loaving chorus though, "There's no hope, and it's time to come of age. I think it's a problem, Does it ever go away? I know I am so self-obsessed, I guess, But there's, no hope, and I hope it's just a phase. Oh, I'll grow." Justin Young understands the bigger picture, but this song... It alienates their cult fan base of Vaccineites.
'I Always Knew' has a rather enjoyable guitar riff. It's quite Western, again moving away from the indie persona with an American feel. The vocal is extremely and almost cunningly clear. The progression is recycled and singer Justin Young knows this. 'Teenage Icon' has a blunt guitar riff which echo's on the left side. Justin gives another clear vocal. The thing here is, they know what they don't want to be.. Yet they highlight this fault, "I'm no teenage icon." By the way, who's calling Justin Young a teenage icon??? NME? Is this your work. There's little improvement musically. I imagined a more mature sound, but instead it's just the same. It's lacking in three chords, but it doesn't gain in anything.
Things become horrific on the track 'All In Vain'. This track has a terrible vocal by Justin Young. Sorry, but you clearly are not American, stop pretending you're something you're not. It's as if they've become obsessed with Guns 'n' Roses. They're a traditional rock band, granted.. But The Vaccines are and will always be known as the indie rock revivalists for the skinny jean generation of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There's this awful section about two minutes in, where Justin tries to sound twee over an acoustic guitar. Where's the thunderous guitars? Where's the punk influences? What's been going on.
'Ghost Town' is a forgettable track with slide guitar, as expected. I've heard this type of song before, in 19 fucking 50. The Vaccines are not unique in anyway at all, but I expect something grander than this. Ghost Town has a simple groove that some kids may enjoy live, but overall, it's a massive disappointment when you compare it to Noorgard or Wetsuit. 'Afershave Ocean' is just as weak and.. And.. And I'm going to use the word now, boring, as previous tracks on Come of Age. The vocal work is respectable, but the progression is predictable.. It's so predictable. It may be because I've been listening to Animal Collective for the most part of today, but The Vaccines are sounding aged and out of ideas so early on in their career.
This is ultimately a simplistic album for, well I don't know who this is for. I'm almost certain the hardcore Vaccines fans won't welcome this album. The 'new' sound is off putting, it's disastrous. 'Weirdo' is another horrific track. I don't get any bit of enjoyment out of the right sided guitar which plays one note but in a wah wah style. I can do this, it doesn't take any skill to crate this guitar sound. The drumming is extremely repetitive, but without this and The Vaccines would be inducted into a mental asylum. 'Bad Mood' is heavier, more abrasive and better than every other track on Come of Age. I don't like the production, but that's just me. Many people like this style of production, for example Kings of Leon, I don't think it fit's rock music. It's a forgettable track, but then again, so is this entire album. It's forgettable, something their debut wasn't.
'Change of Heart pt.2', 'I Wish I was A Girl' and 'Lonely World' are deeply saddening to listen to. I'm not sad because they're sad songs. I'm sad because they're bad songs. They're so pretentious and simple it's painful to listen to. The simplicity of the debut album was presentable. They knew it, I knew it and every critic knew it. But that didn't make it a bad album, their debut was reasonably good, even if it did attract a new age of bandwagon teenage girls and tank top makes with V05 hair gel. Out of these three final tracks, I think 'I Wish I Was A Girl' has to be the worst. Is it a sexual track, or is it serious? I don't know. People of Earth, I don't know what they were thinking. The guitars are predictable and bland. It's just so plain, that's what brings this album down.
Although I did like their debut album, moderately. I think it lacks skill and honesty. Come of Age lacks skill and honesty, but it's also a bad album. The fast paced, reverberated dance floor fillers like 'Wreckin' Bar' and 'If You Wanna' are respectable British indie tracks, but they've been followed up by this fake, self loathing sound of americana, rock and adult contemporary. It's not soft at all, it still has energy and decent songwriting. I just don't think Come of Age is a worthy follow up to an already weak album. I'm thoroughly disappointed, but then again.. And I'm deadly serious here.. What did you expect from The Vaccines?