The Vaccines – Come of Age

written by: September 4, 2012
Vaccines-Come-Of-Age-Album-Review Release Date: September 4th, 2012


Come of Age is a highly anticipated album of 2012. In addition to that pressure it’s not an easy time for The Vaccines to be a rock band. This is their sophomore album, which everyone knows is your hardest. You have your entire life to collect stories and songs to write your first album and then are put in an awkward position to “wait” and work on a sophomore release or trudge through it and release a second one in a year. Imagine what Passion Pit’s second LP would be like if it had only a year to ferment. There seems to be no proper way to do your second album without 1) pissing some fans off, 2) pissing all the fans off, 3) polarizing the fans into two groups of people who think they “sold out”/”should stick to their old sound” and people who think they should “let the band go in their new direction.” The Vaccines chose to tackle it head first.

The album intro & title track “Come of Age” is kind of weak. The way the first line: “I could bore you with the truth/of an uneventful youth” comes off dreary and unenthusiastic. The instrumentals aren’t energetic enough to really catch your attention much either. “When you’re young and bored and twenty-four, there’s no hope…” the chorus tells us. The strange part is that this boredom is what is so intriguing about other tracks. “Weirdo” has a rainy-day shoegaze drone that makes you put want to put the track on repeat. “Aftershave Ocean” follows suit with an almost sludgy instrumental section that makes the lead guitar melodies shine more. In addition to this, the production value of Come of Age is a step-up, where each song is mixed and mastered to sound dynamic and different from each track on the album, like they actually took time to make sure each song was an individual.

The songwriting on Come of Age is a strange monster that takes many forms. There’s some sort of underlying energy that is missing on Come of Age, but it’s those songs without as much energy that catch your ear. “Lonely World” has a catchy lead riff that builds extremely well into a pretty epic album closer. This is where the meaning of Come of Age comes full circle-the Vaccines have grown up a little. I don’t think the Vaccines will be able to pull immature (arguably joke) songs like “Break-up Sex” off anymore–in the same way that they likely wouldn’t have been able to pull off these more mature and refined songs earlier in their career. This is most evident in the flop of “I Wish I was a Girl” that almost comes off as an uncalled for drunken misogynistic rant.

In the gladatorial realm of sophomore albums Come of Age doesn’t fatally wound the Vaccines or give fans any reason to give up on the Vaccines like some sophomore albums have to bands (like MGMT) which is half the battle. On top of that it’s a pretty decent album. It doesn’t hit as hard and loud as one might want, but it’s not like they missed the target.