The 'Tiger Blood' rockers face Ed Sheeran, Anna Calvi, Emeli Sandé and Jessie J in the 'Best Breakthrough Act' category.
Frontman Justin Young told the NME: "It's quite surreal really. Admittedly we are a pop band, but we're still rock'n'roll.
"We're from an alternative background, so it's nice to be recognised in a mainstream, commercial awards ceremony."
Vocalist Young reserved praise for 'Best Female' contender Laura Marling, opining that the Brit Awards has opened itself up to left-field acts.
"It really shocked me when Laura won last year, but when I saw that she was nominated again this year, I was like, 'That's awesome' - it wasn't just a token thing last year," he added.
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Watch the video to The Vaccines' 2011 single 'If You Wanna' below: