Ben Locke

For West London garage rockets The Vaccines, Come of Age is almost an ironic title. They’ve toured with everyone from Arcade Fire to The Red Hot Chili Peppers and received countless award nominations, yet it took an album like this for the punks to grow up. Trading in fast paced riff rock for more concentration on songwriting, The Vaccines pay tribute to the 50’s rock and roll influences they speak so fondly of. The first track “No Hope” starts off the album with a surprisingly upbeat number despite its title, and continues on as a call to arms getting the listener ready for what’s in store. Next up is the haunting “I Always Knew”, a mellow garage rocker with haunting vocals from Justin Young. “Teenage Icon”, the albums first single, is a punk ballad only to be outdone by The Ramones where they sing “I’m No Teenage Icon, I’m No Frankie Avalon”, almost as if they are setting out to be nothing like their heroes.

“All In Vain” is another track that is on the softer side but nonetheless keeps the album moving and interesting. Young channels Joe Strummer on “Ghost Town” which is one of the albums more fun tracks with guitarist Freddie Cowag channeling 60’s surf rock. “Aftershave Ocean” adds some fuzz to their sound but fails to impress. Perhaps the most interesting track on the album “Weirdo” combines the intimacy of Radiohead’s “Creep” with the songwriting of Francis Black on what I consider one of their finest songs in which Young lays his insecurities out for everyone to see. “Bad Mood” and ‘Change Of Heart Pt 2” keep things going on the album; both tracks dull by themselves but work well in the grand scheme of the album. “I Wish I Was A Girl” channels 60’s stoner rock and end’s up somewhere between the Arctic Monkeys without the Sheffield English accent and MC5. The albums final track “Lonely World” is a quiet plea for something more, not quite knowing what I can only assume its to relive their glorious teenage years and go back to that moment where they were still growing up rather than growing out. This album shows The Vaccines have depth and consistency as well as the talent to write a good song, surpassing the line from nameless opening act to a band in their own right.