New Music: The Vaccines – Melody Calling EP

UK post-punk band The Vaccines took a more somber turn last year with their excellent album Come of Age. After their pitch perfect indie rock masterpiece of a debut, Come of Age was a surprise to most – a melodic turn towards introspection and harsh reality rather than reckless lust for youth. With this year’s new EP Melody Calling, the Vaccines continue down the road towards musical adulthood with three more excellent cuts and an absolutely delightful remix.

The title track sees the Vaccines at their musically most splendid. The use of control here is superb – The Vaccines know how to throw a screaming guitar line at you and rock the crowd to infinity, but on “Melody Calling”, the meat of the track is all in the details. Freddie Cowan’s cool, string-hopping guitars and Justin Hayward-Young’s ambiguously downer lyrics make a great team. Looking for love again has never seemed so appealing.

The solemn naivety of the title track is in every possible way slapped in the face when you flip the 12” over. “Everybody’s Gonna Let You Down” is a Justin Young track if there ever was one. In no bones about it layman’s terms, Young tells a lover not to depend on him or else disappointment is sure to come. It’s a cold, necessary realization if there ever was one. But just as determined as ever in the sight of hopelessness (their happy summer single last year was called “No Hope”), The Vaccines make unthinkable situations look better than ever. The track is maybe the best possible way to break this foreboding news to yourself or anyone else.

The rest of the EP’s space is occupied by two versions of “Do You Want A Man?” both of which are worth your undivided attention. The band’s original cut is an up-tempo rocker that balances equal parts jaded determination and hopeful vulnerability. The song is reminiscent of the best material we saw on Come Of Age. Gone is the idealism of What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, where Young told listeners to loosen up and go with the wind. Here, it all boils down to a pretty black and white question. But if your heart yearns for a simpler, more summery Vaccines cut to play in your car or at beach parties, the John Hill & Rich Costey remix is about all you could ever ask for. Spinning a 70s funk rock take on the cut, “Do You Want A Man?” becomes one of the summer’s best tunes, and Justin sounds a bit more willing to go with the flow of things whether she wants a man or not.

The Melody Calling EP is out August 13 in the US through Columbia. The band tours the US next month, but won’t be coming anywhere near Seattle. Listen to three of the EP’s four tracks above.

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