Album & Single Reviews

Published on September 6th, 2014 | by Callum Barnes


The Vines – Wicked Nature

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to witness The Pixies live in all their glory in Manchester. It was fantastic- mainly to prove everyone who has doubted reunions that some can work and also because they literally played every song I wanted them too. An extremely influential band who have brought a torrent of quiet/loud, quiet/loud dynamic bands in their wake. One of those bands are The Vines who’s first record, ‘Highly Evolved’, was praised by critics on its 2002 release as being “the saviour of rock n roll”. Of course they said that about The Strokes and nearly every emerging guitar band since. It was a great album! Not a bad track on it! Carefully moulding shouty garage and grunge rock with the mellow sounds of the sixties- kinda hadn’t been done to those extremes before.

Now we’re six albums on. Every single record that has been released by this band since has been received with mix to low reviews. The band doesn’t seem to write albums anymore, I would instead say that each record has a couple to half a dozen great tracks on it, and the rest just don’t connect. The first three records in particular seemed to exercise some different guises. The Vines have enough of a fanbase behind them however to have reached 100 per cent on a pledge campaign and create cd, vinyl and mp3 versions of their latest outing- despite Craig Nicholls (singer/songwriter/guitarist) being the only original member standing. The latest outfit seems to feature two funky males in their early 20’s while Nicholls is the more veteran member of the ensemble.

‘Wicked Nature’ is Nicholls flogging the same old horse he always has – this time the album is much more one dimensional than most others due to the fact there isn’t as much of a psychedelic edge to this record as there was on other fantastic tracks they’ve done in the past- ‘1969’ for example or perhaps one of my all-time favourites ‘Spaceship’ from 2006’s ‘Vision Valley’. Instead the songs seem even shorter than usual, though there is a certain buzz to quite a lot of them. The 60’s jangled up distortion of ‘Anything You Say’ and ‘Girl I Want’, the head down pedal stomping rock of ‘Metal Zone’ and ‘Out Of The Loop’. This all proves that Nicholls can write some absolutely fantastic tracks under three minutes in length. Where he now seems to struggle is getting his more sensitive side out. The acoustic ballads on this album are nothing compared to the excellent ‘Autumn Shade’ (part 1 only) or ‘Rainfall’ of previous records. Instead we are put through some fairly mundane and badly executed lines which I would actually prefer to be cut out, instead just going straight for the ending with the nicely elongated title track ‘Wicked Nature’. Nicholls still writes some bangers and manages to again mesh together the 90’s and 60’s successfully on a lot of this, but both sides (oh yes, this is a double album) are let down by some really ploddy moments which could’ve been cut off and provided us with an excellent single record. Food for thought, Craig!

Release Date – 1st September 2014


About the Author

20 year old music fanatic currently living in the heart of Leeds. Enjoys heavy rock music (a bit too much at times). Student.

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