Expectations are high for the It Brit Band of the Moment, The Vaccines. Hell, it's right there in the title of their debut album. Even though there's nothing particularly new on What Did You Expect—they grew up with the Ramones and the Jesus and Mary Chain just like the rest of us—their surfy reverb sound is so "I'm going to jump into my car with my best gal" that it's irresistible, particularly on "Norgaard" ("Her mind's made up, she don't wanna go steady"), and 90-second album opener "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)," which explodes and maintains the same momentum as, yes, "Blitzkrieg Bop."
That pace is held up on "If You Wanna," where singer Justin Young, doing his best Julian Casablancas impression, coyly sings, "If you wanna come back to me, it's alright, it's alright/it's alright if you wanna come back to me," but The Vaccines are also capable of rising ballads like "All In White." Lots of breezy guitar solos, too—fitting for an album that lasts only 33 minutes.
The Vaccines sound more determined than most bands recording their debut, but it doesn't mean there aren't filler tracks. There is a song, after all, called "Post Break-Up Sex," which rhymes "sex" with "ex." Are The Vaccines the "Return of the Great British Guitar Band" as the NME blared earlier this year? No, of course not. But are they damn good fun without a trace of pretentiousness or chillwave? To quote them one more time, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."