Every Tuesday on record release day, I get an email from Amoeba Music. At the top is usually a list of 5 to 10 new records. Generally, I recognize a few, and I make an effort to listen to a bit of whatever I haven't heard of. It's a great way to keep up with the bands you like and discover stuff maybe you otherwise wouldn't. If you're not on their list, I highly recommend signing up.
This week, a red album, English Graffiti, with four black clad dudes called the The Vaccines on the front was on that list. Judging a book by its cover, I assumed it was a new, loud, punk or garage rock influenced group from England, or at least sounding like they wanted to be from England. Could be good, but probably not my cup of tea this days, so I check it out to be sure.
The first song, Handsome, is immediately catchy. What does this remind me of? I like the singer's voice, what was that weird sound at the beginning? Oh, this isn't what I was expecting! It is a great start to a great record because I am immediately intrigued. It's got me moving right out of the gate and soon I'm not even trying to place it anymore. A few songs in and I start to realize the depth going on here. By track 3, Minimal Affection, which ends up being my current fave, I'm hooked. Upbeat, downbeat, electronic tinged groovers, an acoustic ballad -- these songs have heart, standing on their own and also gelling as an album. The production is great and there are wonderfully subtle nuances going on here -- varied drum sounds, well placed synths and harmonies. They are definitely a rock band, and from England, and the songwriting is captivating. You know, I don't think I'm even going to list any bands as references here. Just enjoy it for what it is. I've had several songs from the album stuck in my head since Tuesday. That's about the highest praise I can give these days.
I did do some research and found that they have been around since 2010, and of course are already a really popular band from West London. Not surprisingly, the album was produced by Dave Fridmann who has had his hand in a number of my favorite albums. He mixed the first two Tame Impala albums, produced most of the Flaming Lips' records and worked with Mercury Rev, MGMT, Delgados, Rogue Wave, Spoon and more.