Vaselines | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Vaselines Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Thu., Oct. 28, 9 p.m. 2010

The Vaselines reunion started quietly in 2008 and went full-time last year, when Sub Pop gave the deluxe treatment to their scant complete recordings on Enter the Vaselines. At this point it's hard not to be cynical about 80s and 90s indie bands getting back together, but Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee are self-conscious enough about what they're doing that it redeems them somewhat. Their new album—the first since the Vaselines split in 1989—is called Sex With an X (Sub Pop), and several of its songs address the dangers of hooking up with an old lover, which can't help but take on an extra layer of meaning in this context. The title track is full of lines like "Feels so good it must be bad for me," and on "Poison Pen" McKee sings, "My mother told me don't go back to where you've been," then gives in on the chorus: "I'll take you on again." "Mouth to Mouth" is a last-ditch plea for physical connection—and desperation sure seems like the number one cause of band reunions. The spot-on takedown of clueless DayGlo revivalists in "I Hate the 80's" reveals the band's curmudgeonly side, and "My God's Bigger Than Your God" is an embarrassingly (or perhaps intentionally) juvenile critique of religion. Backed ably by guitarist Stevie Jackson and bassist Bob Kildea (both of Belle & Sebastian) and drummer Michael McGaughrin, Kelly and McKee sing much better now than they did the first time around, but by and large their simple, succinct, and dangerously catchy indie pop doesn't sound too different. At least they don't seem to be taking it too seriously. —Peter Margasak

Price: $22, $20 in advance

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