Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I know we’re all sick of hearing about vaccines at the moment, but, hear me out...

Ahhh, The Vaccines. Their debut 2011 album, ‘What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?’ was the soundtrack of my mid-teens and in particular, the summer I left secondary school. I thought that house parties were the best thing since sliced bread (oh, for a house party now), I was going to gigs in the big smoke and hoping that maybe, just maybe, Dad might let me go to a festival with my mates next year (future Ellie hates to disappoint here... but he does finally cave in 2013). 

The Vaccines therefore hold a very strange place in my heart, not only because they remind me of that particularly confusing and naive period of youth, but also because I’ve always felt guilty about how quickly I discarded them and moved on to the next big breakthrough act as I was far ‘too cool’ for their next album, apparently. I have sheepishly kept my distance from much of their music since, feeling too much of a traitor to get back behind them so felt like this article would be a good opportunity to revisit them. I guess I got my comeuppance in some way as I now feel incredibly old upon realising that their debut album was released a whole DECADE ago. Truce?

Fast forward TEN YEARS and 3 studio albums, as on January 18th The Vaccines announced an upcoming EP dedicated to covers, entitled ‘Cosy Karaoke’. They did so by posting a 17 second clip of frontman Justin Young driving through a very sultry looking London. I mean this in the nicest possible way, but the visuals could be a snippet from a low budget remake of ‘Drive’ - bold jacket and driving clothes included. Not only did the clip manage to catch my eye whilst I endlessly scrolled through my Instagram feed (something I spend far too much time doing these days) but I also stopped to listen because, was that the opening riff of Queens of the Stone Age’s modern-rock classic ‘No One Knows’ I could hear? Surely not.

It seemed like a strange track to take on and I’ll be honest, I’m not usually the biggest fan of covers. Bands and artists always seem so intent on covering songs I already love and I’ve always adopted the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality so naturally, I always took an instant dislike to them. However, I am starting to look, or rather listen, to them differently and more recently, I’m starting to realise that covers are an opportunity for an artist to experiment, or are done to offer a different perspective/sound. Despite being a big fan of Queens of the Stone Age, I don’t hate The Vaccines’s cover. In fact, I think I might even like it a little bit. Do I think The Vaccines’s version is better? No, but it is bloody catchy and certainly adds a provocative twang to the original. Understated and cool, they haven’t ‘messed about’ with the song too much and I didn’t even recognise Young’s voice at first as it’s far softer than what I’m used to hearing from him. The Vaccines’s mellow version is arguably more ‘listenable’, yet thanks to the riff it still packs a punch. I’ll therefore be adding it to both my ‘Running’ and ‘Chill’ playlists and very few songs fit into both these categories.

Although there’s no release date yet for the EP, they’ve since released another teaser video for their next cover, Kacey Musgraves’ ‘High Horse’ which will be out imminently. There’s even more good news for you Vaccines fans out there, as in December last year, the band confirmed that their fifth album had been mixed. One thing’s for sure, whether I like the album or not, I promise that I will not consider myself too ‘cool’ for it. 

Eleanor Holloway-Pratt


Image: (rocknfolk.com)

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