Review: The Vaccines – ‘Handsome’


Bursting back on to the scene in a blaze of raucous energy, The Vaccines appear ready to take 2015 by the scruff of the neck.

Their new single, ‘Handsome’, already sounds like it was crafted purely with the intention of providing an excuse for fans to get their dancing shoes on. Backed up with a throbbing bass line and punctuated by jagged handclaps, the melody arrests your attention right from the opening refrain. Having been occasionally derided over the years as a band possessing more style than substance, their ironic humour throughout the insanely catchy ‘Handsome’ is plain for all to see – “Lonely, bored and bad – thank God I’m handsome”.

As with most singles from The Vaccines, the track time comes in at safely under three minutes. But this doesn’t equate at all to disappointing value for money. Carrying an undeniable swagger that wasn’t as evident on their previous two albums, the tune demonstrates an added warmth to the band’s sound, and has more than a hint of Vampire Weekend about it. It’s hard to believe that, just five years ago, lead singer Justin Young was performing acoustic folk music and living in a London flat with half of Mumford and Sons.

Packing a short, sharp, melodic punch, this new single from The Vaccines should propel the band safely back into the public consciousness ahead of their eagerly-anticipated third record, English Graffiti, which is to be released later in the year. And if lead single ‘Handsome’ is anything to go by, this could well be the year that The Vaccines finally shake off the tag of “poor man’s Ramones”, and become the biggest rock n’ roll band in the country.


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