Vines Saddle Up And 'Ride' To End Of The World

New single a 'short, sharp' blast of random images, hits airwaves in February.

The Vines sported a blazing, bratty sound reminiscent of early Nirvana

when they emerged in July 2002. But there was more to them than that.

While half of their debut, Highly Evolved, channeled Kurt

Cobain, the rest seemed more rooted in '60s psychedelic pop.

The Australian quartet grows even farther away from the grunge tree with

its sophomore effort, Winning Days, out March 23. The group's moody

new rock and pop songs jangle, buzz, snarl and grin. The first single,

"Ride," which hits radio in February, bridges the Vines' debut's whirlwind

fury and second album's more mature songwriting.

On it, frontman Craig Nicholls plays searing guitars and shouts like

his larynx is on fire. But between the ripping riffing and megatonic

solos lie spangly guitars, handclaps and a harmonized chorus.

" 'Ride' is a short, sharp song we really like," Nicholls said. "We're

at our heaviest and craziest. But it's really melodic as well, which is

equally important."

Whoever the Vines pick to direct the video will have a tough time

following the lyrics. "It's the most abstract thing on the album and

doesn't have any meaning at all," Nicholls admitted. "It's just a bunch

of random images and words."

Three of the words in the song, "f--- the world," echo through the

disc's final track as well as another song inventively titled "F--- the

World." It's a surprising sentiment for a band whose latest record

seems far more upbeat than its debut, but it's not as cut and dry as it

seems. The grungiest number on the record, it addresses environmental

cataclysm with more ambivalence than nihilism.

"There's a couple angles to it," Nicholls said. "It's an environmental

song where I'm kind of being sarcastic in the 'f--- the world' chorus.

It's really not a good idea to do that. The way people abuse the planet

is bad. Then there's the other side of it, which is, 'F--- it, I don't

care. I'll do what I want and we'll all go down together.' "

Whether Nicholls is pro-environment or hell-bent on destruction depends

on what day it is. Sometimes he adamantly supports one side over the

other; usually he's pretty indecisive.

"I definitely think the world is a good place," he said. "But maybe it

would be better if people didn't hate so much and kill animals. At the

same time, it's like, whatever. It's just a planet, that's all."