Winning Days – The Vines

Label: Heavenly

I’ll dispense with their already well-documented musical history, Craig Nicholl’s perfectly manicured insanity and the fact that debut album, ‘Highly Evolved’ became on of the most talked about releases of 2002. I’ll dispense with it because like Craig Nicholl’s perfectly manicured insanity, it’s really quite boring. Last years news is this years fish n’ chip paper, and The Vines have long since been tickling any trout of any worth. Still those carefully choreographed antics on the Late Show with David Letterman mean they’ll always have a place in our cold thorny hearts. Which is just as well as a great deal of the chaff on new album, ‘Winning Days’ is unlikely to earn the same fate. Not that it’s totally bereft of worth, just that it’s uneven.

‘Ride’ is a cracking single. Cheeky clanking riffs, bubble-gum cheeriness with a blistering grunge chorus that whilst hardly troubling ‘Teen Spirit’ at least makes us look back fondly on plaid shirts and deerstalker hats. ‘She’s Got Something To Say’, however, begins to reveal those tell tale numbers behind the paint. Perfunctory, unremarkable but not unpleasant, it hints at far more than it ever delivers. And this could be said of half a dozen or so tracks on the album. It’s only on final track ‘Fuck The World’ that Nicholls and Co. even begin to approach the kind of genuine spirit that made ‘Highly Evolved’ such a memorable release.

The Beatles, The Hollies, The Byrds and Teenage Fanclub seem to make up the remainder of the album, the best of which are the shuffling and the drowsy, ‘Autumn Shade II’, the Rod, Jane and Freddy title track, ‘Winning Days’ and the cheery ‘Rainfall’. But every ray of sunshine has a cloudy lining and tracks like ‘Sun Child’ and ‘Amnesia’ recall the more worrying characteristics of Oasis and the Cosmic Rough Riders.

Whichever way you look at it, a fairly unremarkable but not unpleasant album with occasional moments of promise.

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Release: The Vines - Winning Days
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Released: 20 March 2004