Sound: I really liked this bands sound. Many people have described the sound as 'simple', and that is very accurate. Whether or not you can overlook this and see that simple can sometimes be better (something this album evidences) is down to you.
The Vaccines' influences clearly show through, while still being original. Their sound has a very Ramones quality to it, with a simple combination of chords, a fast sound and clever, quick lead guitar work.
The choice of a guitar band, in today's industry dominated by pop, R&B and rap, was a risky move, with some having being quoted as saying the guitar band is dead. While not an incredible game-changer the likes Arctic Monkeys' 'Whatever People Say I Am..', this is still a great album, and stands to prove that guitar music is still very much alive.
While I could talk about the use of guitars for a while, it's worth it to give the drummer, Pete Robertson, a mention. With such simple choice of guitar usage, the drumming, even more so than with other contemporary guitar bands, needs to be up to scratch, and to underpin every song on the album. The drumming on 'What Did You Expect..' does more than this, and drives it forward, blending various, always shifting backbeats, tying the song together while changing seamlessly from snare rimming to crashing toms and bass. It is not often in a band that the drums are such an important part of the set-up; while drumming is always important, necessarily forming the music's bedrock, Pete's drumming is something that drives the song, changing it and making it from what could potentially be just another song with a mediocre-good druummer, to a hit, and he is a great testament's to this band's musical ability, which, with it's choice of simplicity, could be called into question by those who don't know better. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics in this album are not particularly strong, but are good enough. They have chosen again to go more simple than complex, but again, this works very well in their favour, and is done to perfection.
The band clearly knows a lot about music, which is marked in their lyrics. The latest single, Norgaard, is a good example of this. The clever use of 50's style lyrics ('She's only 17 so she's probably not ready') over a frenetic, early punk song mixes extremely well, and shows that, while this album won't make much of an impression on quite a few people, the band clearly know how to make good music, so, even if this album doesn't do it for you, watch this space.
Justin Young's singing changes little over the course of the album, from quick delivery in If You Wanna to slower, more measured approach in All In White. However, the bonus 'hidden song' shows that his voice is very versatile, in this song, titled Somebody Else's Child, evokes emotion and a good use of tone and range. Not to say that the rest of the singing is bad, but the lack of variation may cause some to criticize. // 7
Overall Impression: In my opinion, this album is great. Some of the songs require a second (or maybe third) listen to appreciate, but it's an album that grows on you. Definitely worth it to buy this album if you like indie-garage bands such as Arctic Monkeys or The Strokes, or more aged music such as that of the Ramones, 50s rock 'n' roll and 60s early garage.
Stand-out tracks include the more developed lyrics of All In White (or the hidden song Somebody Else's Child), to the stadium shouters If You Wanna and Wreckin' Bar, and the downright fast and fun Norgaard.
I would most definitely recommend this album, and I hope, like me, you'll love it and find yourself listening again and again and again. // 9