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SXSW: UK buzz band the Vaccines inoculate Texas

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The Vaccines
Roger Sargent

They’re from the UK and they’re called the Vaccines; they play high-energy, vintage Brit, punk-tinged songs. When they take the Club De Ville stage at SXSW, you expect the lead singer to come out looking like death warmed over—some Sid Vicious-meets-Alex Turner rocker in a T-shirt that was last washed during Margaret Thatcher’s administration.

Instead, The Vaccines are fronted by Justin Young, who looks a bit like Luke Wilson and wears a polite button-down print shirt. Thankfully, none of that mattered once the band started up with a strong and cohesive performance (impressive, considering the band only formed last year).

The Vaccines new album—cheekily titled What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?—was released Tuesday, and debuted at No. 2 on the UK charts.

NME magazine’s latest Next Big Thing blew through its entire set list in only 20 minutes. It helps that the songs are so short—their single “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” is only 84 seconds long—that these guys make The Strokes look like Phish.

And, indeed, The Vaccine’s release date was reportedly moved up a week in what some interpreted as an effort to get out of the way of The Strokes’ new album, since the acts tend to draw similar fans. But with The Strokes embracing a more electronic sound on their Angles, The Vaccines might provide some guitar-based relief for indie rock fans thanks to songs like “Post Break-Up Sex” and “If You Wanna.”