14 July 2013

14th July - The Vines' Highly Evolved

Artist – Album: The Vines – Highly Evolved
Released:  14th July 2002              

Sounds Like: Nirvana... NOT!

Reading back over the various reviews of this album it’s clear that the record split opinion. In the red corner, there’s the majority of the British press who oddly labelled the band as the new Nirvana, gave the album rave reviews and listed it amongst the best of the year, or, what temerity, best of all time. In the blue are the unimpressed Americans, who claim that if they do sound like Nirvana it’s only because they’re trying so hard to do so – the album is as devoid of original thought or emotion as a clone. FIGHT!

In truth, the album doesn’t really warrant such a strong reaction from either point of view. It’s good, not great, and certainly not revolutionary. Meanwhile, yes, the Vines do wear their influences on their sleeve, but so did many of the bands during the garage rock revival of the early noughties. They don’t deserve to be singled out or punished for it by any means.

Just listening to it without any of the hype or disappointment makes it clear that there is a decent band here, with plenty of ideas, if a definite lack of focus. The grunge tinged garage punk of ‘Highly Evolved’ and ‘Get Free’ are barnstorming anthems that count amongst the best of their type since the turn of the millennium, but it’s surprising that similar attempts such as ‘Sunshinin’’ and ‘In the Jungle’ fall so far wide of the mark. Similarly, some of their slower efforts, such as the wonderful ‘Autumn Shade’ and ‘Mary Jane’, are excellent lackadaisical rock tunes, but the likes of ‘Homesick’ are just too sincere. I’m pretty confused by ‘Country Yard’ and ‘Factory’ which at times sound inspired and at others make me want to throw the ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ sounding bag of shite out of the window.

It’s patchy, but the best bits are well worth investigating.

Albumaday... rating: 6/10

1.       Highly Evolved – 1:35
2.       Autumn Shade – 2:17
3.       Outtathaway – 3:02
4.       Sunshinin’ – 2:43
5.       Homesick – 4:53
6.       Get Free – 1:59
7.       Country Yard – 3:46
8.       Factory – 3:12
9.       In the Jungle – 4:15
10.   Mary Jane – 5:52
11.   Ain’t No Room – 3:28
12.   1969 – 6:27

Listen to ‘Autumn Shade’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZteVcjwqGtE

Also released on the 14th July:
1994: Elliott Smith – Roman Candle

Also released on the 14th July:
1998: Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty

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