Hype. The marketing or promotion of a product using intensive or exaggerated publicity. It’s a common word in the world of new music and is often used in the context of a band or act being over-hyped - suggesting a deception of the public, attempting to con them into thinking something is good when actually it isn’t.
The word hype has been surrounding The Vaccines considerably the last few months in the UK at least – for here is a band that had half of indie-London clamouring to get into their rammed gig at The Flowerpot in Camden back in October and appeared on Later With Jools Holland before they had released a single. The Vaccines have created a mini media storm – but the band themselves see it a different way having told Drowned In Sound “The band don't create media interest - the media do, then funnily enough the media then complain about all the media interest!” There’s probably some truth in what The Vaccines say, but the media interest wouldn’t be there unless there was something to interest them. Hype chicken or hype egg ?
So why the hype? Why The Vaccines? There’s probably a combination of factors at play here. There’s a vacancy for some new guitar heroes in both the eyes of the UK media and the industry – a space left since landfill indie started decomposing and The Vaccines offer the possibility of filling the void. Also the last few months represent the time of year when the industry traditionally starts pushing out new acts as part of campaigns to get BBC Sound of 2011 / Brit Critics choice awards in January, before the treadmill of small venue tour (or in The Vaccines case NME tour) / album release / festivals / larger tour dates) begins and The Vaccines uprising fits neatly with this calendar. Furthermore with a big record label - Columbia – involved, a degree of heavy promotion is inevitable. But most importantly, although the number of pounding Strokes versus Ramones like stomps that the band currently have in their arsenal are small, some of them are pretty decent. And this is the fundamental point - unless there's something there, something of merit, something to get the heart racing, the hype (in the context of being something worth checking out) wouldn't happen.Whilst riding the see-saw in excitement, the danger with hype is that the wave builds in a scrum like frenzy, and at some point reaches the shore of over expectation until it breaks. The Vaccines are going to have to be skilled wave riders - they seem to be going about it the right way at the moment - not losing their heads and concentrating on playing gigs. They're a decent enough live band - not yet brilliant by any means, but significantly better than your average new indie rock group. Their sound is direct, raw, familiar and immediate - straight-up rock 'n' roll thrills are what The Vaccines cure is.
Only time will tell if their sound translates creatively or commercially – but because of the music and because of the hype - they're our fourth one to watch. Only the daftly complacent would begin predicting where they'll be in a years time. Let the public decide....
Blow It Up by The Vaccines