The Vines: Highly Evolved (EMI)

One second they are calm and peaceful, the next unleashing a temper tantrum of sonic proportions on your soul. 

One second they are calm and peaceful, the next unleashing a temper tantrum of sonic proportions on your soul. 

Combining the raw aggression of Nirvana with the melodic instincts of the Beatles, the Vines give us something we have not heard in rock in quiet awhile: depth. Hailing from Australia, The Vines are like little kids in need of Ritalin. One second they are calm and peaceful, the next unleashing a temper tantrum of sonic proportions on your soul. 

The band took their name from the obscure ’60s Australian band the Vynes, in which the father of Craig Nicholl (guitarist/vocals) played. Like all vines, the band evolved slowly. Formed seven years ago as a trio, they spent most of their time rehearsing while playing only the occasional show. Their practice-makes-perfect efforts paid off.

On the first song, title track “Highly Evolved,” the Vines unleash enough aggression in 94 seconds to start a riot—and this is only the beginning. By the time you finish listening to the album, you have heard a band that combines all the beauty and fury that rock has to offer. From the Beach Boys to The Kinks, Nirvana to the Beatles, and Big Star to Cheap Trick, the Vines don’t necessarily reinvent the wheel—they just make it roll a little better.

Raw rock aside, the real gems on Highly Evolved are the slower melodic songs, from the psychedelic fantasy of “1969” to the dreaminess of “Autumn Shade” to the surreal freakout on “Sunshinin’.” Truly, when I listen to this album, I cannot find a bad track.

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