The Vaccines: ‘Handsome’ Single Review

Columbia Records
Columbia Records

The triumphant return of London’s indie-pop guitar band, The Vaccines, has finally commenced after announcing their seductively audacious new single, “Handsome.” After convincing the nation that the future of guitar music was going to be okay after all with their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, followed by their mellower, maturer, and somewhat appropriately named second record, Come of Age, The Vaccines are set to bash out their third album this year dubbed English Graffiti. I can’t help but find the title ironic given how much time they spent in America over the past couple of years, and the music video has an oriental theme attached to it, but perhaps it’s just given the boys a fresh new outlook on English guitar music.

Admittedly, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on in the preceding few seconds of the track when frontman Justin Young chants somewhat indecipherable lyrics over an irresistibly contagious clapped beat, but the madness tickled me. Shortly followed by the full drum kit and a jangley guitar riff, Young’s voice impulsively shoots out the lyrics, “You think you look good in whatever they sugar-coat you in,” in that raucous “If You Wanna” style. It’s not difficult to notice The Vaccines’ natural uplift in character with the new track “Handsome,” and perhaps, even a step back to reminisce on their earlier, classic, guitar band sound. This is evident in the witty lyrics renowned in What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, such as “Thank God I’m handsome / so handsome / thank the Lord I’m pretty / so pretty,” which are no doubt a pleaser of those indigenous fans of The Vaccines.

There’s yet no word on the release date for this very highly anticipated third album, English Graffiti, but at least we know that The Vaccines are busying themselves for their forthcoming UK tour in March and April, starting at Nottingham Rock City on March 27th and ending in London’s Brixton Electric on April 8th (not mentioning the two intimate shows tonight and tomorrow in Brighton and London). I can just see the audiences absolutely eating up “Handsome,” causing legs and arms to flail uncontrollably.

Given the diversity between the other new, more stripped-back songs, “Dream Lover” and “I Want You So Bad,” that were dropped into various European festival sets last year, there’s just no predicting the overall sound of forthcoming album English Graffiti, but it’s without a doubt one to watch out for.