I won’t start this the same way every single article about The Vaccines begins (on everybody’s lips, media industry frenzy, band comparisons, eagerly awaited album) because that in itself is the boring problem. Yet in a way you cannot talk or read about The Vaccines without mentioning the ‘hype’ (yep there I said it) that surrounds them.
The ‘hype’ has, in effect, become the monster of music; that self-perpetuating big-mouthed machine (made up of music execs/journalists/promoters etc) that collectively decides whether a band will be ‘big’ (also known as, will make them money) or should be given patronising advice and sent away to pointlessly practice more.
No longer do you simply hear of a band and listen to their music. Now you barely get the chance to hear a riff or a tickle of a drum beat above the din that is NME cover shoots, Guardian journos obsessing, a hundred write-ups of their first, yes first, ever gig and a hoard of reviews on their yet to be released single. And you’ve not even heard a bloody song yet!
This isn’t just the case for The Vaccines, but for any band who dare jump headfirst into ‘the industry’ that is music. Unless you can somehow manage to ‘go viral’ (as always speech marks note lack of respect and contempt for such phrases, probably due to having heard them a million times) your only part in ‘the dream’ is the odd “I was in a band once” type conversation at parties.
I should know, as I was in a band once (and I’m not even at a party). We would have each sold a separate limb to get the type of hype (I feel I should follow this with the word skype) that The Vaccines are receiving. As they well point out in Gillian Orr’s article The Vaccines – Just when you thought rock ‘n’ roll was dead in the Independent, “It is kind of weird being in a position where people are talking about you, but we know what it’s like to be ignored and now we’re seeing the other side of the coin. I think we just have to prove to people that we’re worth it.” If you create something that you want an audience for, you are naturally desperate to get people’s attention. But to get ‘hyped’ the way bands now do, arouses such high expectations in people, that even the love child of Elvis Presley and the Beatles would struggle to live up to it.
The Vaccines add in the same interview, “The press say we’re hyped, but they’re the ones creating the hype.” Pot, Kettle, Black on the press’ part I’d say.
As it is The Vaccines sound good. I have happily listened to them on Spotify and We 7 for a while now and am keen to hear the album once it is released. It’s cool, easy garage rock, nothing new, just with their own twist; to guitar music what Mumford and Sons are to Nu-folk. Their song Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) almost parodies the genre in the way Jilted John did with Gordon is a Moron, demonstrating yet another way of doing what people like to listen to. There is apparently a gap in the market for indie guitar music now and the media monster truck is telling us that The Vaccines are here to fill it. Blow it Up has a particularly nice early Rock n’ Roll stratty vibe; like a jam session between The Shadows and The Cure. Overall they sound like Joy Division with 50s quiffs jumping on a trampoline. Luckily they don’t look like that so there’s nothing to put you off there. They would be good to bounce around to in a sweaty club somewhere, and good to stick on repeat behind drunken drinks with friends. Overall though, through no fault of their own, there is less to say about them than there is about the ‘hype’ that surrounds them.
The Vaccines were pictures on the front of NME under the headline “The Return of the Great British Guitar Band” and nothing could be truer. Not in terms of content however, but in terms of control. The return is who we are told it will be, the future of music is whoever is forced down our throat. And although ultimately the band has to provide, and no we do not have to listen, but we haven’t got a chance in hell of hearing anything else.
Today I read: The Vaccines – Just when you thought rock ‘n’ roll was dead by Gillian Orr in the Independent; Wife not Lodger blog
Today I listened to: The Vaccines and The Unthanks on We 7
Beautiful finds at The Vintage Village
© Anne Louise Kershaw