As with many failing indie rock bands from Great Britain, The Vaccines have aimed west (unsuccessfully), now they are finally showing signs that their Americanism is paying off. Sophomore album Come of Age was a joke, released in-between Brit bands going state side. It failed to live up to the standard set by 2011s debut album What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?
The Vaccines are gradually improving year by year. Ripped shirt personas are something of the past - step forward the London intellectuals. Calm, sweet, melodic - words you wouldn’t find attached to The Vaccines, but this is what they have become. They're alienating a large proportion of their fan base by doing so, but the well-read, musically gifted quartet can actually begin to plan for serious critical receptions with this sound. It's not a new sound, its aged and has been done before, and better by bands across the pond. Britain hasn't been well represented in decent to good releases this year, and The Vaccines' "Melody Calling" signals a change in American domination for this genre.
Last years Please Do Not Disturb EP highlights The Vaccines influence. From the pop rock of ABBA to punks unsung heroines Wire, this acoustic EP is the predecessor to "Melody Calling" and the releases soon to follow. Justin Young and co keep Jonathan Richman close to their hearts, as do I. The average Vaccines fan needs to ask Dad who Johnny is, and even then the chances are slim Daddy knows the brilliance of Richman's brain. Credit must be given to The Vaccines when due, and "Melody Calling" deserves praise.
"Melody Calling" is somewhere in between the surf rock sounds of The Drums, and the synth pop sounds of Wild Nothing. Rock, in the general meaning of the word, is missing from this Vaccines track. It's absent for a very good reason, they don't need it anymore. They don't need to prove themselves to anyone these days. It's been two years since their debut album hit the shelves, the 16 year olds are now 18, there's so much more to music than sex, drugs and rock n roll. With "Melody Calling", The Vaccines are showing us just how diverse they can be.