The Vines - Winning Days
Alex Worsnip 24/03/2004
It's astounding how small the interest surrounding the Vines' new album is compared to their debut, but think back a year or two, and Highly Evolved was all the rage, even reaching, ridiculously, one of Q's all-too-frequent 'Top 100 Albums Ever' lists. Despite some good moments (the utterly fabulous single 'Get Free') that album was patchy at best. Unfortunately, 'Winning Days' is just the bad side all over. Their Nirvana-meets-Beatles formula of snarling rock is still evident on first single 'Ride', but its a stodgy regurgitation of previous, better, efforts.
Elsewhere, muddy guitar riffs, willfully unhinged vocals and pointless guitar solos often dominate. 'TV Pro' starts with an intruiging, Mercury Rev-esque verse, but gets ruined by a tremendously unoriginal shout along chorus. 'Autumn Shade II' and the title track revive their love for pastoral folk, and keep things eclectic, with nice, Beatles-esque harmonies, but won't move mountains - Nicholls voice less suited to this style than the rock. Shame, then, that the rock is turgid. 'She's Got Something To Say' is so like early Nirvana its almost funny, and 'Animal Machine', 'Sun Child' and 'Rainfall' almost stray into Oasis B-sides territory.
Nirvana meets Beatles is the exact formula throughout - but let's face it - that's not a tremendously imaginative combo. We get strains of the psychedelic here and there, but couldn't you get the same so much more gorgeously off so many other albums? Nicholls' live performances now are laughably poor too, and the signs are all that the band is soon to implode. Unfortunately, that may be the best thing for all of us.