The Vines: Craig Nicholls (vocals, guitar, piano, percussion); Patrick Matthews (piano, organ, bass, background vocals); David Olliffe (drums).
Additional personnel: Rob Schnapf (guitar); Roger Joseph Manning Jr (keyboards); Pete Thomas, Joey Waronker, Victor Indrizzo (drums); Ethan Johns, Steven Rhoades (percussion).
Recorded at Sound Factory and Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California between July 2001 and February 2002.
Most folks first became aware of Australian rockers the Vines via their cover of the Beatles' "I'm Only Sleeping" on 2001's I AM SAM soundtrack album. A few months down the line, their 2002 debut album HIGHLY EVOLVED took the UK by storm. Shortly thereafter, the album was released in the US with high hopes. The group's basic, no-frills guitar rock should find plenty of friends among fans of the Strokes, the Hives, White Stripes, etc. It's rock & roll stripped to the bone, pared down to charging riffs that reference such evergreen influences as the Stooges and the MC5, and sharp songcraft with echoes of everything from T. Rex to Nirvana. There are a couple of softer moments on HIGHLY EVOLVED, such as the ruminative "Autumn Shade" and the contemplative "Homesick," but for the most part these Aussie lads lead an electrified charge with all guns blazing, frenzied vocals and sledgehammer rhythms belting out their battle cry of rock with a capital "r."
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (12/26/02, p.112) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2002"
Rolling Stone (7/25/02, p.73) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A promising first effort...These four handsome Australian lads are doing a fine job of plundering decades worth of trashy-yet-tuneful American rock..."
Q (12/02, p.69) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 2002"
Uncut (8/02, p.116) - 4 out of 5 - "...Striking a seam said to be equal parts Beatles and Nirvana...Despite pasty complexions and studio tan lines, these Vines will grow on you..."
Alternative Press (8/02, p.86) - 8 out of 10 - "...It's rare for a band to channel the Velvet Underground, Nirvana, Dandy Warhols and the Beatles within the span of 45 minutes and sound unique, but the Vines have crept into that select category with HIGHLY EVOLVED."
CMJ (6/24/02, p.12) - "...HIGHLY EVOLVED elevates you to a better place..."
NME (Magazine) (7/6/02, p.24) - 9 out of 10 - "...Arty and hummable, gloomy but not scared of long, lazy afternoons in the sun, this album is the sort of shiver-down-the-spine debut that gets you thinking that if The Stokes were the John The Baptists of rock then just maybe..."