Friday, August 16, 2013

EP Review :: The Vaccines - Melody Calling

The Vaccines

Melody Calling

August 12 2013 (Columbia Records)


Words: Dave Beech

The Vaccines are a band who really need little introduction. After bursting onto the London scene in 2010, they have gone from strength to strength with both albums hitting high in the UK album chart and seeing them play a slew of high profile support slots for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Now a global entity in their own right, The Vaccines release their fourth EP 'Melody Calling' and look set to change opinions of both stringent fans and naysayers alike.

Featuring three tracks and a remix, 'Melody Calling' sees the band head in a slightly different direction to previous outings. Eschewing their garage-rock/post-punk hybrid that was teetering on the edge of stagnation, they have opted for a more melodic approach, diversifying both their song-writing and instrumentation and as such, a change in their overall aesthetic.

Beginning with a Nirvana-esque bass/guitar combo, 'Everybody's Gonna Let You Down' is both simple and effective. Gone are the garage-rock sensibilities, replaced with a bubbling and irresistible degree of Americana that is not dissimilar to the approach Tribes took with their second album resulting in a perfect introduction to this newer and, dare I say it, maturer sounding band than that of 'Teenage Icon' fame.

Titular track and most recent single 'Melody Calling' carries on a similar vein; softening even further than that which it proceeds. Any sense of the angular guitars has vanished, as has singer Justin Young's borderline monotone delivery. Instead we see swooning vocals and sixties pop inspired guitars which are consistently supported by understated percussion. It's just a shame that the lyricism, which has never been the band's strong point, is particularly trite and formulaic here.

A change in direction this may be, and a change in production values it certainly is. But it' s a welcome one at that, and proof that the band just aren't one trick ponies capable of only releasing the same rehashed record again and again. Final track 'Do You Want A Man' is perhaps the most diverse track featured, and the band have clearly listened to criticisms and made a very deliberate change in direction. The inclusion of a remix of the aforementioned track, however, strikes me as somewhat lazy and even nonsensical given that a fourth track would have been a more preferable option, though this shouldn't detract from the record's overall quality much if at all. For those of you clamouring for the band's third full-length, 'Melody Calling' should be just enough to whet your appetites and sate that thrist for more of Justin Young et al, just don't go in expecting your usual instantly catchy indie-pop fare. It isn't a perfect record by any means, but if this a precursor to a third album then they can certainly expect their fan-base to grow beyond that of the readers of NME and attendees of T in the Park. You're heading in the right direction lads, but it might be time to pick up the pace a little.

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