The Vaccines at The Hospital Club, London review
'The punky energy remains, but with just a little bit more depth'
Chris Eustace - 01 August 2012
The Vaccines at The Hospital? Surely that’s
where they belong? Usually, yes, but the musical version are getting talked up as festival headliners-in-waiting instead,
all months before the follow-up to their debut album is even in the shops. With the only cameras allowed into The Hospital
Club tonight filming for TV, new songs are expected, and we’ll find out if, having survived the ‘Ones To Watch’
hype, the band are ready for the next tidal wave of expectation.
Before that, there’s a bright and upbeat set from Francois & The Atlas Mountains to enjoy. Switching from Vampire Weekend-style perky afrobeat indie to some Miike Snow electropop whenever the mood takes them, there’s co-ordinated dance moves, instrument swapping, strange percussion and catchy tunes like ‘Edge Of Town’ that merit further investigation.
If there is a lot now being placed on the headliners’ shoulders, you couldn’t tell from looking as The Vaccines saunter onto the stage. You’ll already know latest single ‘No Hope’ from the radio, and it begins proceedings tonight, all curled-lip “whatever” swagger with a hint of Libertine urchin charm.
From there we hurtle through ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ and a stomping ‘Wetsuit’,
before new single ‘Teenage Icon’ confirms that both the band’s sense of fun (“I’m
no Teenage Icon/I’m no Frankie Avalon”), and way with a chorus, have been left intact on album two.
‘Weirdo’ is the pick of the new songs, and the biggest departure too, with Freddie Cowan’s guitar going the full Coxon over the top of a Pixies rhythm and some Smithsian lyrics, as Justin Young desperately attempts to assure us that despite his awkwardness, he’s “not a weirdo.”
Young is improving as a frontman too, and armed with something to commemorate before ‘Blow It Up’, he quips: “This was the first thing we ever recorded, on the top floor of this very building. See? We are posh!”
After they breeze through a turbo-charged ‘Tiger Blood’, we’re left thinking Albert Hammond Jr. must have left them a few more tips from the producer’s chair, with the sinister garage rock of ‘Ghost Town’ coming on like an evil version of ‘Last Nite’.
A blinding ‘If You Wanna’ is quickly followed by its ill-tempered little brother ‘Bad Mood’.
It’s actually quite playful when you get to know it, updating as it does the band’s Ramonesy side with extra guitar
heroics from Cowan.
A frantic ‘Norgaard’ finishes things tonight, and while those first album singles will still be the ones getting the loudest sing-alongs this summer, they could well find themselves eclipsed come the autumn. From what we hear tonight, the punky energy remains, but with just a little bit more depth this time round.
‘The Vaccines Come Of Age’ is the slightly tongue-in-cheek title for the new record, and if the rest of the new tracks sound as good as these, they may have helped write the reviews as well.