Ironically, this is not what I expected from The Vaccines. This is the band who sit almost perfectly between the beach vibes of The Drums and careless angst of Palma Violets. I urge you strongly to listen to or buy (in fact, go on and do both) the deluxe version, for the remixes are quite astonishing and almost present a new direction for such a seamlessly rock ‘n’ roll-fuelled band. Forget chronological, when I discuss this sort of transition, I’m referring to Give Me a Sign; the original is smooth, fun and uplifting, but these qualities are unapologetically amplified on the reimagined version, edited by Co Co T.
The Vaccines’ third album opens somewhat traditionally with Handsome, which isn’t too dissimilar to something from their debut. It was their last album that dissatisfied me slightly; it lacked punch and depth of character, but they seemed to have reassessed since then and remedied my niggles. Not that they ever heard them from me. Their indie-rock pattern seems to operate nicely on the first track, but this is somewhat scrapped on Minimal Affection. Granted, there’s a wistful, mellow chorus and shredding guitar riffs, but the opening melody is oddly reminiscent of Kate Bush. 20/20, which directly follows, is uptempo, dramatic and wildly youthful, which is original Vaccines to a tee. The sort of track played way too loudly by teenagers with denim jackets, worn out Vans and a cigarette resting on their lip. Magic. The Dave Fridmann edit adds further crazy notes, too.
Denial somehow echoes Phil Collins, in the most complementary way I can express. It then transcends into a heavy, domineering chorus which just begs to be toe-tapped along to. This isn’t a straightforward album from The Vaccines; they are clearly boasting all of the experience they’ve yielded over the past few years, and it’s sounding very classy indeed.
I’m a sucker for palm-muted strings, which brings me to the decision that Want You So Bad is my favourite of the untouched, pure Vaccines offerings on this deluxe outfit. Jay Jay Pistolet’s vocals are almost ethereal, and I think everybody can relate to wasting hours agonising over people, which is precisely what The Vaccines put forward here. This album is streets ahead of their last, which is comforting, especially because I was initially sceptical. The solo of Want You So Bad is brash, scornful and tears across those guitar strings, which expertly contrasts to the sad, thoughtful chorus.
Overall, I’d say that the deluxe is the version to expose yourself to, and you won’t regret it. What a superb follow-up from what was a bit of a shocker last time around. The Vaccines, welcome back.
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Want You So Bad’
If you’re hunting for a summer anthem, but can’t stand turning to the Top 40 (I don’t blame you), then go for: ‘Give Me a Sign Reimagined – Co Co T Edit’