Sound: Compared to the bands first album, the band has progressed and furthered their sound vastly. There is more consistency here, each song featuring loads of hooks and jingles sure to be in your head for weeks to come. While the first album had a more "pop" sound to it, especially on tracks like "Norgaard", this album has a more post punk sound. The Vaccines have improved a lot in the past year.
Freddie and Justin are more creative and fun with the use of effects on their guitars. On tracks like "Weirdo" or "I Always Knew", its really interesting to hear their tones and effects, its really exciting to hear something that's been done countless times feel so fresh and exciting. The guitar playing itself is standard at times, but melodic riffs and little bits here/there really make the songs "pop" and give it that catchyness. Also, to be honest, I'm really impressed by the drummer still.
Also, like the previous album, the use of reverbs and echos is still here, but doesn't feel overwhelming like for example Surfer Blood's music (I do love that band too though, they are great). It actually makes Justin's vocals sound really cool/bada-s. His timing and groves really compliment the bands style and sound. On the track "I Always Knew", a thumping grove keeps going through from the start through the first chorus and then joins in with the rest of the band to really make the rest of the song explode. Its subtle things like this that really take the songs higher and heighten the mood.
The album was recorded not long after last years LP, where they found the time is unclear, as they are constantly touring globally. However, this doesn't come across on the record and feels no way rushed. It actually feels quite natural and sounds like they've had these songs written for a while. I really fell in love the sound on this album. It's about time a proper British "guitar" band came back into modern music and prove that the genre isn't dead, in fact its getting better. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics on this album are far more in depth than chasing models or sex issues, like the last album. Justin Young gives us a more better insight into his emotions and his possible past. Justin Young has had 3 operations on his vocal chords, he could lose his voice any day now, however this doesn't show. His vocals are top notch and rather impressive at times for a band in this genre, compared to for example Alex Turner.
On songs like "Weirdo", Justin Young helps take the song further with his passionate "la's" and "ah's" which actually sound brilliant and beautiful. The song "Teenage Icon" shows he's aware of the bands "punk" reputation, and precedes to do Sex Pistols type singing on the way his says his words, which not only helps add attitude to the song, but takes the maybe simple lyrics, further. Overall, I think the lyric quality is better than the last album and more insightful, Justin Young's vocals are even better than ever, I find myself listening to the songs purely for him. // 10
Overall Impression: Overall, this album is definitely one of the best releases I have heard this year. It was actually a surprise shock for me, as I wasn't initially to bothered about this record before it was released. However, its a very happy, fast paced and lighthearted listen. A true summer record. Anyone who likes Punk, Post Punk, Rock or Alternative, I would say this record is for you, even if you've not heard this band before. I would definitely buy this again if it was lost/stolen/broken. // 9