Teenage Kicks

(Originally written for the next issue of Electric Magazine, http://www.weareelectricmagazine.com)

Find me one person that doesn’t love The Undertones. Teenage Kicks was an anthem for a generation, a pioneers favourite song and perpetually relevant. And now in the summer of 2011 we face the second coming of The Undertones in the form of The Vaccines.

Their brand of summer-tinged indie pop, and the hype that surrounds them, has stormed the nations conscience leading to their debut album hitting #4 in the album charts. But what is a typical Vaccines fan?

In short, it could be absolutely anyone. Young, old, rich, poor, they’re one of the very rare breed of cross-generational bands. Their lyrics tell the relatable tales of teenage love, lust and adventure, set to a thunderous rock and roll soundtrack. Basically, they’ve captured at least one summer that everyone’s been through. They’re songs are barely longer than 3 minutes and this rattling immediacy is part of the appeal. No one can keep their interest long enough to listen to 14 tracks that are 4 minutes in length, The Vaccines 3 minute long bursts of rock ‘n’ roll pop are the perfect antidote.

Of course not everyone likes them, but that’s a very select group (and I suspect a large proportion of those are hipsters mourning the loss of their buzz band). And sadly The Vaccines are a very easy target. In the immortal words of Morrissey ‘We hate it when our friends become famous’, and seemingly it’s been a quick ride to the top for them. They achieved a Top 10 debut album less than a year after forming, and are set to be the band to watch at the festivals this summer; I know I’ll be at the barrier for their set in Grant Park. So its no wonder bands that have slogged for years are feeling slightly bitter (I’m looking at you Los Campesinos!).

Amazingly The Vaccines are a band adored by my entire family, all 8 of us, varying between the ages of 7 and 40. For the youngest they create simple songs to dance around to, and for the oldest it’s that final spark of youth for them to cling onto. And that’s not all. When asked for my current favourite bands at a University interview recently, upon name checking The Vaccines there were nods of approval, and frantic scribblings by those who had not previously heard of the band.

And in all honesty the band sum it up themselves. In What Did You Expect … the band give us that short sharp injection that’s needed every few years to kick start the British music scene. We need more bands like The Vaccines that give us that primitive pop that we’ve been missing, none of that chill gaze, witch house or whatever genre is ‘in’, just pure unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll tinged pop. We can’t survive on pop starlets and cult bands alone …


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