Your opinion on the band’s previous, very much hit or miss album, Come of Age, will pretty much determine your opinion on their new track ‘Handsome’. I mean, for some they’ll see it as the band returning to their debut, gritty, rocky days and for others you’ll see them turning their backs on the typical indie genre they conformed to in their follow up release. ‘Handsome’ returns the heavier aspect to the band but this time with a subtle, yet perfectly executed, pop twist.
As are the majority of the bands hits, this track’s anthemic. With repetitive chants opening each verse and the, hopefully ironic, arrogant chorus of “thank god I’m handsome, so handsome”, it wouldn’t be surprising if the track replaced the continual live set closer ‘Norgaard’. What makes this track even more attractive is the bands primary focus on the drumming throughout; where Robertson provides an on going mash-up of upbeat, yet rather simplistic patterns to make the song even more infectious.
As always, Young’s vocals have had a change around but the raucous nature of both his character and lyrics still lay present. The cocky charm in the lyrics leaves prepubescent teens lusting over the words and causing them to contemplate which ones they’re going to shoddily stick and poke permanently onto their bodies.
There’s a clear progression for the band and it wouldn’t be possible to suggest an album this track could’ve come from, mainly because that would suggest the track could be a repeat- and who want’s that? It’s slowly becoming a track which can define the bands previous work, but also shine a light onto what’s yet to come in their upcoming, third studio album English Graffiti. If you look at the Vaccines’ production history it’s clear to see that they’ve matured to become heavy, yet clean cut- something that the music industry pines for the perfect balance of in a band, and so do some of us “less important” musical folk.
Despite the general uproar the bands have received from solely releasing a song, they have also received some comments about cultural appropriation. Believe what you like but Young claims that:
“We wanted to create a video that was a sort of bubblegum ode to cinema and, in particular, Hong Kong kung fu movies.”
So despite the endless kung fu lessons, learning to eat with chopsticks and the repeated appearance of rice during the video- it’s safe to say that accompanied by lyrics about the “heightened version” of the lead singer being so grateful for his looks, there’s no harm to be done here.
WORDS BY MOLLIE MANSFIELD