You'll know exactly what to expect from the Vaccine's debut album after listening to the opening track, "Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)": old age punk meets new age indie. Not only is What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? catchy as hell, but it establishes the London based rock band as a presence that indie-rock fans will either love, or have to live with, because it looks like The Vaccines are probably here to stay.
A hard-hitting headline track can be difficult to follow up, but The Vaccines pull it off, returning to the Ramones "California Sun" style chord progressions with songs like "Norgaard," and "Family Friend." Punk-rock finger prints are all over their punchy guitar riffs, swift drum beats, and not-so-lucid lyricism ("put a wetsuit on, come on, come on/ grow your hair out long, come on, come on").
Nevertheless, there seems to be a layer of sophistication that keeps the band from having the same gritty feel of a punk-rock crew—not to say that their music isn't visceral, because it is—putting them in rank with indie bands such as the Arctic Monkeys. The new age element that distinguishes The Vaccines can be heard in songs such as "Wetsuit" and "Post Break-Up Sex", with the addition of harmonizing backing vocals, thrown in dissonance, and added hints of synth.
These varying elements fuse to create a sound that is best described as punk-rock with a diploma. This album has all the lead your foot will need, and more than enough power for the dance floor, but it also harvests a melodic feel that transcends the base of their preoccupations, and really solidifies uniqueness in The Vaccines' sound.
What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? is loaded enough to put The Vaccines on the map. Nevertheless, this is a band that warrants continual growth. They've secured attention with their debut, which is a good thing, but not in the same way that Best Coast or Fleet Foxes wrangled a large amount of fans onto the bandwagon from the get-go. They've got the chops to plate, let's see how they handle it when they're out of the frying pan and into the fire.