The Vines 
Highly Evolved
/EMI; 2002/

rating : 7




more info :

I was prepared not to like this album. This is a phenomena that i call anti-hype reaction™. The NME guys have been making fools of themselves by comparing this band to Nirvana and the Beatles (among others). In consequence I grew totally indifferent about this band. And, well, i must admit that i was wrong. But this is an exception. 9 times out of 10 the NME's "new Nirvana" band sucks. really. so.

At first i didn't like it. Because I was ready not to like it, and because of the stupid ob-la-di ob-la-da guitar rhythm on Factory. The album starts quite well though. The title track is furious and Get Ready is impressive. So. After/during Factory I'm like : "Ok, this is shit. Ha! i knew it!" And Autumn Shade can't change anything about it. Because it's not awesome, just ok/good. I erase all the mp3 files from my computer and empty the bin with a smile. 

A couple of days later I was discussing with a friend of mine who has great taste. We end up talking about The Vines and I tell him that I didn't like it, "stupid NME" and so on. And he tells me that he likes it. I ask him if he's joking and he's dead serious. So I decide to give it a second chance. I skip Factory and Autumn Shade and start with Country Yard. And it kicks ass. Especially in the end. Most of the Vines' songs end up with a climax full of nice background vocals. I love it. Mary Jane is a nice dreamy acoustic pop song and it's good. Not 'NME' good, like Travis or Stereophonics, but really good. So at this point I start to consider thinking them talented. One song is OK, two is suspect. The Next song, In the Jungle is surprising. It starts like any indie rock song and then it slows down and then it explodes. And the singer screams. I have to say something about the singer's screams at this point in this review. It's a real Frank Black/Kurt Cobain scream, not a Matthew Bellamy/wounded dog howling. So after the climax/end of the song I'm really impressed. In the Jungle is like a rollercoaster ride, it starts slow and then goes real fast and then slows down again and goes real fast again. And the most surprising thing is that the next song is even better. Outtathaway! features a wockanwoll solo and an awesome explosive chorus. and backing vocals too. and a scream. I decide to breathe some fresh air and go make myself a glass of vodka lime. 

I guess they couldn't rock harder than Outtathaway! since they put the mid tempo acoustic Homesick after it. It's nice, of course. These guys really know how to end songs. Rock drums again. Ain't No Room is a rock'n'roll song for sure. Killer riff. Craig Nicholls is a really good singer and your sister's in love with him. Climax again. This would be boring if it wasn't so good. The next song is titled Sunshinin and I'm prepared for the worst. There's a solo there too. It's ok but not as good as the other ones, despite the feedback and scream. The last song on the album is titled 1969 and it six minutes and a half long. I hope it's not going to end up as a Led Zep epic, cause I really can't stand Led Zep (apart from the side B of "III"). And it actually starts like a Led Zep epic song. Thankfully Craig Nicholls doesn't have Robert Plant's harpy voice. And 3 minutes after its beginning it starts going faster. and he screams. and then there's just the bass and Jane's Addiction-like ethereal vocals. This song makes me think of Jane's Addiction's Up the Beach. Maybe it's the bass, i don't know. It does sound like it. And this is what finishes the last remnants of antipathy towards the Vines inside of me. Ok, they're not Nirvana but this is far from being the shitty album every musical elitist on this side of the world is spitting on.

-Barbara H.

/sept. 1st 2002/