Music Review: The Vines

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The Vines

Highly Evolved

[Warp Records]

Man, about eight years ago you couldn't have found a bargain bin big enough to throw all the marked down copies of this re-warmed oatmeal. Some cheeky record clerk would‚ve stickered it with "File Under: Nirvana" and that would have been the end of it. Well, maybe they would have played "Get Free" on the radio for a couple of months, but that would have probably been it.

I guess I could study the press packet for this record, but I don't feel like it. Here's what it probably says: Last year they were a cover band that did a rousing set featuring tunes by the Beatles, Radiohead, XTC, Nirvana, Oasis, Elastica, and maybe "Anarchy In The UK" thrown in for good measure. A year later they've written their own songs, with their own lyrics, but they're still essentially a cover band. They haven't developed their own style yet, nor have they decided whose style to rip off.

Listening to "Highly Evolved" is a bit like playing a rock and roll version of "Name That Tune." I found myself noticing bits and pieces of a million rock songs. Why, there's a chunk of "Don't Fear The Reaper!" And there's a piano part from "November Rain!" Hey, that's the intro to "Beautiful Day!" Whee!

So yeah, they're not exactly the most original band in the world. And they could definitely use a lot of work. However, I must admit, these songs get catchier the more you listen to them (it helps to be cribbing from some of the catchiest pop songs in history). And it's not like Nirvana and Oasis never ripped anyone off, anyway. I also should mention that, in spots, this record rocks a lot harder than some of its source material. "Highly Evolved" and "Get Free" are some garage punk if I ever heard it.

I don't know, this record is all right, I guess. If you don't have anything better to buy and maybe you see a used copy of it, give her a whirl.

Michael Baker


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