The Vaccines - Melody Calling EP

So it's time for The Vaccines to grow up. After two albums of festival-friendly pop-punk anthems, they've reached that artistic impasse that comes to all bands of this ilk: 'We just want to be taken seriously, man!' and it's off to Boss Angeles with some name producers (John Hill [Rihanna, MIA, Santigold], Rich Costey [Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys]) to work out where they go next. Presumably, we'll never hear Justin say 'There's always been a dance element to what we do,' but stranger things have happened. (Did they party with some models? You would certainly hope so. To do otherwise lets the side down tremendously.)

So what do they do next, musically at least? Well, on the basis of this new 4-track EP (three new songs and a remix), it's about taking the foot off the pedal a little, mellowing out a bit and just about keeping a hold on the simple charm that managed to win over even the Doubting Thomas' who would normally dismiss their unabashed retro-isms. The title track goes too far by being too fey and too MOR but 'Everybody's Gonna Let You Down' is better, taking a Nirvana-style chord sequence into slacker pop territory and a nagging, defeated chorus ("I just burn all night, it’s a lonely life"), while 'Do You Want A Man?' flirts with acid-tinged Merseybeat (think The Coral or The Zutons). No definitive answers here then, but intriguing enough to whet the whistle for album number three.

Overall

6

out of 10

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