A year-and-a-half after its heavily hyped debut, "What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?," British indie rock band the Vaccines landed its first No. 1 album with sophomore studio set "Come of Age."
The new, 11-track package, released internationally by Columbia Records, debuted at the top of the U.K. charts with first-week sales of 44,000, according to the Official Charts Co., for the period ending Sept. 9. The Vaccines' 2011 debut has sold 340,000 units in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 4. In the United States, it has sold 23,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, hitting No. 3 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart.
"We released this record so quickly off the back of the first one because we felt we were capable of making a far better album," singer Justin Young says during a recent U.S. stopover, which included live gigs in New York and Los Angeles, as well as a Sept. 11 appearance on NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."
"The first record lacked character, in all honesty," he says. "There were lots of stylistic constraints because we had this idea of how we wanted it to sound, whereas we had no grand plan going into this record. We just wanted to get the best 11 songs that we had and make them sound as good as we possibly could."
The group enlisted producer Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams), who oversaw an organic approach to live recording. "One thing his records have in common is that they're all no-bullshit," Young says of Johns. "You really feel you know an artist better having listened to an album that he has produced."
U.S. audiences will be able to judge soon enough, when "Come of Age" is released domestically Oct. 2. To build anticipation, the singles "No Hope" and "Teenage Icon" -- the latter a primal stomp with Young passionately wailing, "I'm no teenage icon, I'm no Frankie Avalon" -- have been serviced to college, speciality and alternative radio formats.
The band returns stateside early next year for a national tour booked by Marty Diamond at Paradigm, after canceling a full U.S. tour tied to its debut album due to Young's severe vocal problems at the time. This time around, the band's tour will mark "the first time for the Vaccines in many of these markets," Columbia Records director of marketing Erika Alfredson says.
"All the best rock'n'roll records are human -- they're not perfect," Young says. "We wanted to make a live record, and we wanted to keep those imperfections. We've really benefited from that."