After many years on the receiving end of so much hatred from the snootier end of the indie music audience, it seems The Vaccines have resigned from being the straight-up, catchy pop band who gave us What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? and Come Of Age. That said, their past efforts have certainly taken them places – the Melody Calling EP comes off the back of playing with The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, an experience which may have aided this transformation in to a much more accomplished band, one who are now perhaps deliberately trying to respond to past displeasure by making a deliberate change of direction.
Melody Calling is certainly a brave release, in that it has the capacity to cause a stir within a fanbase who may be expecting more instantly addictive tunes. Yet its start is not particularly promising. The title track, drenched in reverb and sweet guitar licks, is damaged by repetitive, borderline god-damn banal lyrics, with the phrase “melody calling” repeated a farcical twenty five times in a song that only last around three minutes. ‘Do You Want A Man?’ however is a vast improvement on its predecessor; channelling the psychedelic aura of The Charlatans and spirit of Jagwar Ma, if all future Vaccines tracks sound like this, there’ll be no more having to refer to them as a guilty pleasure.
And yet, just as you reach the top of the rollercoaster, ready to plummet down emitting screams of joy, ‘Everybody’s Gonna Let You Down’ begins. It’s further proof that if Freddie Cowan and Justin Young were as talented at writing lyrics as they are at creating a vibrant melodies and honeyed harmonies, we might really be on to something, but yet this remains their stumbling block (Young relying on tired clichés to detail how’s “got no faith in the human race”). To close, producers John Hill (Rihanna, M.I.A., Santigold) and Rich Costey (Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys) – who were on hand to record the EP in L.A.’s Eldorado Studios – provide a curious remix of ‘Do You Want A Man?’ that gives those behind The Inbetweeners Movie competition for one of the most pointless things made in recent years.
Despite its missteps, this EP is certainly a welcome change and display of maturity from The Vaccines, one that if further explored could see them broadening their audience beyond those not jaded enough to be concerned with whether something’s a ‘guilty pleasure’ or not. It just might take a bit of practice to perfect.
- Sam Davies