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
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.”