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Single Review: Handsome // The Vaccines

One of the most sorely missed bands of recent years has finally returned, after months of hard tea cup balancing and noodle eating. After a brief spell of silence on both social media and the UK gig circuit, The Vaccines have released a video for ‘Handsome’. This is the first single off their new album English Graffiti

From the opening bars, the track instantly echoes the sound that was captured in their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?;  everything from Justin Young’s’ distinctive lyrics and equally distinctive vocal tone, to the rumbling bass that rolls underneath. The London quartet seems to be playing it safe after the mixed reviews of their 2012 release Coming of Age. But needless to say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The only changes that are truly noticeable are in the production choices as everything seems much slicker than the previous releases. Freddie Cowan’s guitar tone is much cleaner and brighter than the low fi sound that was heard in tracks on the Melody Calling EP. It is also far from being like the dirty guitar elements that crackle and crunch in tunes such as ‘Bad Mood’ or ‘Weirdo’.  The bouncing riff used in the verses sounds as if it has been lifted straight from a Vampire Weekend track,  whilst the drums and vocals are far more prominent. Overall, this makes ‘Handsome’ really come to life.

Another familiar characteristic of a Vaccines tune is the brief running time. At around two minutes thirty, the track ends as quickly as it kicked off, leaving the listener wanting more. Luckily, for those who hunger to hear more, the band have announced a UK tour which – judging by their recent Brighton performance – will involve a mix of their greatest hits and the new English Graffiti material.

Words by Cameron Sims

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