The recent / imminent release of new sophomore albums by The Vaccines (in particular) & The XX got our man Andrew Bardsley ruminating on how artists build up to that “tricky” second album. Read his thoughts on this subject below.
The opening bars of ”ËWreckin’Bar’ or ”ËBlow It Up’ have enthralled many, if not most self respecting indie pop fans throughout this fine land over the past 18 months. The buzz that had surrounded The Vaccines after the release of their early singles was still there when I saw them at The Ritz in Manchester in April 2011, and the sense that they could achieve anything was plain to see. But I fear The Vaccines may become a victim of their own success. Kings of Leon syndrome anyone?
Whenever bands choose to release albums within 18 months of each other, there is always the possibility that fans will get bored. After KOL went from the preserve of indie hipsters to mass market darlings with ”ËSex on Fire’, they saw the opportunity to cash in and produced a record which was unashamedly mainstream. Some of their fans, this writer included, were disillusioned with this shift in emphasis. After watching them at the GMEX on the Because of The Times tour in 2007, Come Around Sundown was a major disappointment. They soon fell into a world of booze induced arguments, cancelled tours and pigeon poo.
The broadcasting of several summer festivals on the BBC only adds to the sense of bombardment that is created when similar line ups are shown every few weeks. Take T In The Park and Reading and Leeds Festivals, both of which were shown on the BBC. Approximately 7 weeks apart, both festivals featured Florence, the Kaiser Chiefs, The Courteeners, The Maccabees, Kasabian, The Horrors and The Vaccines as premier acts. Of course a crossover is likely because there are only so many bands on tour, but groups such as The Vaccines are in danger of causing their fans to become indifferent towards their new releases and tours. It feels as though we have seen it all before.
As a result, I can sympathise and begrudgingly agree with The Stone Roses’ decision to not allow the filming of their performance at T In The Park. Having not seen them post-reunion, I was disappointed not to be able to watch their set, yet this also continues the mystique that they have maintained since that press conference. Rumours of new material have been circling, and the signing of new record deals suggests it may not be too long until we hear it. In contrast, The Vaccines have been dishearteningly obvious in their promotion, appearing at every festival going, and rush releasing their second album in the hope it is carried by the tidal wave of public affection.
Come of Age? I liked it better when we didn’t know what to expect from The Vaccines. The xx have shown how comebacks should be done. After xx earned them the Mercury Prize in 2010, they went into near hibernation for most of 2011, and returned with the wonderful ”ËAngels’ in June. Music fans were excited at this announcement, and unfortunately I don’t think they will on September 3rd, when Come of Age is released.