A little background...

The Vaselines formed in Glasgow in 1987 and released two singles and one album, Dum Dum, on Scotland’s legendary 53rd & 3rd label.

Their music was a playful, sex-obsessed, and totally catchy amalgam of bubblegum and the Velvet Underground that would help form the blueprint for modern indie-pop.

The Vaselines broke up in 1989 — the same week Dum Dum was released — but soon Kurt Cobain began literally singing their praises: not only did he plug them in interviews, calling Eugene and Frances his “favorite songwriters in the whole world,” but Nirvana covered three Vaselines songs, igniting world-wide interest in this obscure, defunct and absolutely brilliant band.

In 1992, Sub Pop released the compilation The Way of the Vaselines, introducing the band to a new generation of fans.

Eugene and Frances were still making music: Eugene formed Captain America, aka Eugenius, and signed with Atlantic Records; Frances led the bands Painkillers and Suckle.

The two stayed in touch and even played together now and then, reuniting in 2008 and touring the U.S. — including a legendary appearance at Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary festival — as well as Brazil, Japan and the UK to adoring audiences beguiled by the band’s irresistible tunes and hilariously salty stage banter.

 

Soon, there was the acclaimed Sex with an X (2010) — unmistakably the Vaselines but with a more sophisticated sound and a newfound poignancy
and wisdom.

Above all, V for Vaselines is a celebration of the continued chemistry of Eugene and Frances.

"We just work together well," Eugene says. "I don't know what it is but when we get together, it creates a sound we couldn't do separately."

They were struggling for an album title until one day Eugene came across a classic photo of Winston Churchill flashing the V-for-victory sign. "And I just thought, 'V for Vaselines!'" he says, "Frances loved it too, so that was it."

And the album is indeed a sort of victory.

"We were wondering if we could do something new and different for us, so we decided to see if we could," says Eugene.

"We're really happy that we've made a record that we can be proud of."


Michael Azerrad, May 2014