Listen Up: wednesday, August 22, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Vines

Highly Evolved (Capitol)

By PJ Gach

Standing on the steps of the basement, hands tucked into your back pockets, you shift your weight from side to side. Trying to avoid notice while watching the “band” practice, you check the guitarist as he dances around the cramped space and screams into the microphone. The drummer’s crashing his cymbals. You hear a yell from the top of the stairs. It’s mom. “Turn that shit down!” Everyone smiles.

The beautiful vibe of the DIY sound is back — but it’s not all four-tracks and home recordings. It’s major labels, major money, and major talent. The garage sound in its simple, emotion-filled glory is a welcomed remedy to pre-fab sonics. The Strokes may have been the first to embrace rawness, but they weren’t the best. The Vines’ tight, edgy delivery seems to be pushing these boys to the front of the pack. Lead singer Craig Nicholls combines pretty-boy looks with a voice that calls out to the angst-ridden teenager in all of us.

The Vines are an Aussie foursome that has the low-tech garage sound down pat — obligatory wah-wah guitar wails and Cobain-esque lyrics mixed with pared-down production and emotive vocals. Songs that you wish you had heard when you were 16 pepper Highly Evolved. “I’m tired of feelin’ sick and useless / Then speakin’ every other way / Gluin’ my eyes together, girl / Might be the right escape ...” are the opening lines of “Country Road.” Gritty enough on paper, the words are even grittier when Nicholls sings them.

For that raw refreshing feeling of rock ‘n’ roll, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just get Highly Evolved.


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