But does What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? deserve these defensive sentiments? Yes, sadly. It is a debut full of youthful exuberance and catchy hooks, but woefully lacking in depth, originality and just about everything else. The lyrics are the worst offender. Meaningless literary references (“The angles came F. Scott Fitzgerald / The evening news and the morning Herald”) and choruses worryingly suggestive of sexual grooming (“Her mind’s made up; she don’t wanna go steady / She’s only seventeen, so she’s probably not ready”) are just a hint towards how vacuous this record actually is.
The album isn’t devoid of value. The band certainly has an ear for a melody, and they clearly know their audience. It’s just disappointing that they haven’t developed their ideas into fully fledged pop songs, and that they’re too brazenly commercial to seriously be considered punk. They lend heavily from both genres, but do justice to neither.