In just three years, post-punk band the Vaccines have crowned themselves the new princes of British rock. Their first record, What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?, was one of the U.K.'s bestselling debuts of 2011, according to NME, and they received the magazine's Best New Band award the following year. The band will play Madison for the first time on Friday, Sept. 27, when they visit the Majestic Theatre.
This year marks the Vaccines' first headlining tour in the U.S.
"It's been a really great year. We made some new music and played a lot of good shows," says lead singer and guitarist Justin Hayward-Young.
That new music includes 2012's Come of Age, which explores the teen angst hinted at in "Post Breakup Sex," a track from their debut that includes the lyrics "I can barely look at you/Don't tell me who you lost it to." The band's latest recording is Melody Calling, an EP released this summer. Its New Wave-y pop is interspersed with classic rock-guitar screams and a punk-revival aesthetic, showing how gracefully the band have evolved from Cheap Trick-style cheekiness to a polished yet reckless type of emotive rock.
"The EP was a nice bridge between our last album and our next full album," Hayward-Young says. "You never want to do the same thing twice; you want to expand and change and explore."
The band's four members have taken that sentiment to heart. Melody Calling feels like having a drink with a wise friend, who sums up your latest epiphany in one sentence and then beats you at darts. The lyrics are often dark but never self-indulgent, and there's substance behind the tongue-in-cheek delivery, even when the band poke fun at their bad behavior.
In other words, Melody Calling is a snapshot of a few young Brits gaining self-awareness. So what does Hayward-Young think of post-breakup sex now, after a few years' reflection?
"Whether it results in emptiness and regret and self-hatred, or happiness and empowerment, sort of depends on who you're with and when you do it," he says with a laugh. "But my policy is don't do it."