Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
For being one of the busiest and most talked about bands in Austin this spring, during the dirty dog and pony show that has become South By Southwest, The Vaccines appeared to be in no hurry to leave our quaint, but comfortable compound. There was plenty of Pabst, Crispin hard apple cider and burgers and hot dogs sizzling on the grill. Out in the courtyard, the stakes for horseshoes were set up, with the shoes half-buried in the loosened pit dust, ready for someone to take on the next challenger. With beers in hand, the great, new rock and roll saviors from London, England, kept themselves around for a good amount of time, clinking the stakes and thumping the ground as they took it easy on their final day in Texas. Prior to their leisure games and drinks, lead singer Justin Young, bassist Árni Hjörvar, guitarist Freddie Cowan and drummer Pete Robertson, lit the studio on fire with the kind of of-the-moment music that makes everyone around it feel as if they were breathing in the freshest of air. The songs from the band's forthcoming debut album, "What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?" are all quick-hitting nuggets of youthful disillusion and abandonment, with Young singing like a guy burning the candle at both ends, full of, but losing energy fast. Being young, good looking and running into the kinds of stammering and hiccupping romances as he and the rest of the Vaccines do is enough to wear you out in a hurry and the band has made a name for itself by diving into those choppy waters - waters that are cold enough to shock the system, but tolerable enough to keep them splashing in them for some time.
It's music that embraces all of the faults and all of the exhilarating highs of being young and somewhat foolish. The Vaccines is a band that finds itself emphasizing the dreariness, as well as the thrilling qualities of finding love unreliable. There is the stuff that you find after a heartbreaking parting and there's the stuff that you want to get back - as on "If You Wanna," where the character that Young portrays is one who is feigning indifference by pretending to leave the ball in the departed lady's court, when he's really just coolly decimated, unable to function properly in the face of it all. The songs are pertinent and potent, packed with such verve, the kinds of feelings that you truly live for, the ones that you remember for all-time and, despite some hard memories associated with that period of your existence, they are the feelings that make you wistful. You wouldn't mind going back to relive them because at least then, you'd be less bald, less paunchy, less gray, cooler and lovelier, able to attract those birds from across the room, even in an unkempt and bedraggled state.