Album review: The Vaccines - English Graffiti

Graffiti is a record that comes off as simultaneously overproduced yet heartfelt (a welcome addition). It also happens to be the band’s best offer.
major lazer album cover for Peace is the MissionCREDIT: Mad Decent
major lazer album cover for Peace is the MissionCREDIT: Mad Decent

The Vaccines English Graffiti Columbia Three stars

The Vaccines’ ambition has been obvious since their 2011 debut, when NME ran a cover story on the English quartet with the off-putting headline “The Return of the Great British Guitar Band”. The actual album, What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?, was a soulless, made-for-satellite radio affair, as was 2012’s Come of Age. With a respected producer on board (Dave Fridmann, who has worked with indie luminaries The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala), the band’s third record, English Graffiti, is no less mainstream-ambitious, but three years was enough time to at least find some soul.

Graffiti is a record that comes off as simultaneously overproduced yet heartfelt (a welcome addition). It also happens to be the band’s best offer.

Fans of festival-ready guitar rock will find comfort here as Strokes-inspired pop-rock is heard in the lead single Handsome and other safe bets such as Dream Lover and 20/20. The best moments, however, come in the more tender, left-of-centre offerings such as Minimal Affection and the title track. While still nothing original, the band at least show growth.

Published: June 1, 2015 04:00 AM

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