I mostly listen to music through headphones and whilst my current set are not studio quality, they’re decent enough to cope with any type of music and give a good listening experience. So I was surprised when I hit play on English Graffiti, the third studio album from The Vaccines. It was so loud that I had to swiftly remove the headphones for fear of damaging my hearing, but checking the volume, it was on my normal setting.
Start again – still too loud. Turn down volume, that’s better. But wait – it still sounds too loud, so loud in fact that the sound is all distorted. Only it’s not loud anymore, just distorted. Something is wrong with my headphones, try another set – just the same. Must be the device? Try another device – still the same.
After skipping through a few tracks I came to the conclusion it must be a flawed download or something. Almost every track sounded heavily distorted, as if it had been recorded with the meters in the red the whole time. The bass is hard to hear, lost under a hail of distorted drums and guitars.
Here’s one of the worst offenders
I did a quick internet search to see if there was a known problem with the download. But it turns out it’s just the way it is. I did find this article where they say they wanted to make an album that would sound terrible in 10 years, but sorry guys it sounds terrible NOW!
I don’t know the first thing about recording music, so I don’t know whether it’s the production, engineering or something else that has made it sound this way. Whatever it is, the result is that the album sucks. Which is a real shame, because The Vaccines are a great energetic, melodic band with two great albums behind them. I’ve often gotten into a band after only discovering them at the third or fourth album and I’ve got to say that if this was my first experience of The Vaccines I would be in no hurry to listen to them again.
It sounds like there might be some good songs here too, I just can’t listen to it long enough to tell.
Score: 2 suns out 10 (1 for actually writing some decent songs and 1 for having the sheer balls to try something this stupid)
Here’s one they made earlier, which shows how good they CAN sound!