The Vines – Winning Days

Somewhere in the universe, there is a place where the music is passion filled expressions of the intellectual people who inhabit that culture. Unfortunately, we live down here on Earth where senseless music with zero worthwhile content abounds. Britney Spears is the queen and mundane rock bands rotate their place as king. The rest of us are left to suffer as their bitter subjects.

The latest rock band to rule is a posse of Aussies referred to as The Vines. They bashed onto the scene amongst a myriad of other bands whose names followed ‘The.’ In their existence they managed to distinguish themselves with the antics of their lead singer, Craig Nicholls, who has become one of the worst interview subjects in recent history. He is known for extreme amounts of marijuana consumption, and for completely destroying his band’s set at each and every concert. Their first album, Highly Evolved, was a mix of loud rock and mellow tempoed songs. It was an extremely glorified release that many people bought and few people really seemed to like.

Winning Days starts with “Ride,” a song introduced with a beautifully loud riff. It is the kind of song you can blast over and over again without really understanding the lyrics or comprehending what is going on besides the words “ride with me.” The song has a great beat and the ability to really energize a person. Even so, listening to this song one hundred times still wouldn’t be enough to get through the rest of this album without falling asleep.

The Vines sound much better when they focus on fast-paced, loud, and slightly obnoxious rock songs. As soon as they veer from this it sounds like you are listening to a psychedelic band from 1965. Songs like “Sun Child” and “Amnesia” are over four minutes long and extremely tedious to listen to. With the searing guitar riffs and pounding drums gone there is nothing that could make you want to listen, except maybe if you needed a sleeping aid.

Nicholls manages to channel multiple people on this record. The song “Animal Machine” sounds suspiciously like Kurt Cobain, and while many music critics have compared The Vines to Nirvana, I don’t feel that is even a slightly valid comparison. This song is by far the best on the record, because that hint of Nirvana sprinkled into this song really goes a long way to depart “Animal Machine” from the rest of the record. If The Vines could derive inspiration from Nirvana more often, it would be beneficial to both the band and the listener. “Autumn Shade II” sounds like it should have been performed by the Beach Boys, and is a mediocre song that will be completely forgotten in the scheme of musical history. “She’s Got Something To Say To Me” sounds exactly like about three songs from The Vines previous record. It is a catchy rock song with utterly disposable lyrics. Mr. Nicholls, I have something to say to you; “Stop smoking so much pot and focus more on your lyrical ability.”

The Vines have the propensity to be a good rock band. They have an off-center lead singer who has appealing vocals, and the ability to scream in the perfect of instances. There is even proof that the band can write decent songs since good songs dot in and out of their last two releases, but they somehow still miss the mark. Winning Days is saturated with hippy sounding rock scattered with a few mediocre rock songs to finish it off. This release has unfortunately crowned The Vines as the newest kings of senseless rock music.

(Capitol Records)