The Skinny: Press darlings upon the release of Highly Evolved in 2002, the Vines really can rock pretty hard. Not that it’s hard rock. It’s a little derivative, but it’s guitar, bass and drums — what’re they supposed to do? “Get Free” is a keeper.
Sounds like: Stone Temple Pilots, Jet, Alice in Chains, The Strokes, Killers, Velvet Revolver, Nirvana, Joan Jett, Silverchair, Blue Oyster Cult, Guns & Roses
Deeper Thoughts: These Australians celebrated the 10th anniversary of Nevermind by debuting with a record dripping with Cobainish impressionist introspection and Grohl-y drumming. Craig Nicholls is the rock auteur responsible for this stuff. This is the sound of guitar rock evolving into vocal-centric hard pop for the masses that baby boomers can get with if they’re still trying. The hip-swaying tenderness on the ballads seems designed to get the band laid. “In the Jungle” features a riff highly inspired by BOC’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Frankly, most of these tunes are too long. So, if you don’t want this record to end take heart– neither does Mr. Nicholls.
The Sonics: Snarly loudness!!! Loud, sure, but not particularly full or rich. They’re trying to channel some sort of early Sabbath-type sound without the warmth and candor of Tony Iommi. Lots of Seattle-era garage sounds. A ton of sub recommended; my rig couldn’t do these tunes justice. Not sure how Nicholls recreated his wall-of-sound vocals live, but it’s a very lush experience on this disc.