With said record - titled Come of Age - out next month, we phoned up guitarist Freddie Cowan to find out what we can expect from the LP, what he makes of today's album chart and whether a big collaboration is on the cards.
Hi Freddie, how's your week going?
"I've just got back from playing some shows in Europe and I'm walking back from the supermarket. I've bought all the things you crave when you've not been home for a month. That said, we're back off to Europe at the end of the week. I don't even know where we're going!"
Not knowing your schedule is usually a sign that things are going well...
"I've not known where we're going or what we're doing for six months now. We have so much to deal with that you have to relinquish some control and delegate things like timetables to other people."
You've got a new album coming out next month and the new single 'Teenage Icon'; what's the response been like so far?
"We're just started to really gear up promotion for the album, although we've been playing songs like 'Teenage Icon' live for about eight months now."
Does that mean you're already bored of that song?
"Not at all! Making albums is a weird process - it's incredibly rewarding but at other times incredibly frustrating. You go through a lot of crap to get it exactly where you want it, but then you get this extended period where you're allowed to enjoy it."
Your debut album was a big success; were there any creative blocks when making Come of Age?
"Honestly, we could have started recording this album a month after our last one. The creative blocks will always be there, whether you start making a record one month or two years after the last. If anything, it probably gets worse over time. We had songs that we were pleased with and we didn't want to stop, so we had no reason to hold back. It also sets us up for another two years of touring."
That's a long time on the road in total; are you considering a longer break after this album?
"I think so, yes. I definitely think a band needs to make that transition on their third record where they really step things up, and that takes time and effort. We've got to have a really decent third record if we stand a chance of staying around. Not a major break or anything, maybe one or two months. That said, our new album was quite an intense process and I like that you can hear that on the songs."
How is this album different to your last?
"The whole thing was recorded live - the vocals and everything. The idea was to capture the energy of the songs rather than perfect production. There's a song on it I love called 'Bad Mood'. It's got a great riff and an amazing beat. It's a bit of a throwaway rock 'n' roll song."
The charts are in a strange place at the moment; are you feeling confident about this release?
"I think people around us would like us to have a number one record. You can't blame the kids because the stuff they're being sold is such bulls**t. They have no interest in guitars whatsoever. A lot of the stuff that's popular is complete misogynistic s**t. I mean, Chris Brown shouldn't even be allowed on the radio. I think a lot of people responded to the honesty of our last record and hopefully those people are still with us."
But album sales are at an all-time low, which must be worrying if you're an albums act...
"There's no money to be made on the album chart at all, but there is touring to be had. The kind of people who buy albums are savvy to it and end up downloading it illegally. It means a lot of labels will put money into pop acts because the music is so cheap to make and they end up making a s**t-load of money. Labels aren't idiots - they'll always find a way to make enough money even if the music is crap."
Coldplay recently teamed up with Rihanna on 'Princess of China'; would you ever consider doing something similar?
"I've never heard that song, but it's Coldplay - they'll do whatever they can to be the biggest band on earth, to be bigger than U2. They do it really well and they've never put out a bad album so hats off to them. I have nothing against those collaborations because I don't feel you can judge people, but I don't think I'll ever be involved in something like that. It needs artistic merit. Rihanna isn't an artist - she has 15 writers, 15 songwriters and 15 producers all fighting for space on her albums and she's the face of it. I have nothing against it, but I don't want to be associated with it."
The Vaccines release Come of Age on September 3. Watch the 'Teenage Icon' music video below: