Beatlervana Part II
Sometimes as a listener it is necessary to look past the various shortcomings to see what it is makes a certain artist great. A perfect example of this being Stone Temple Pilots in the mid-nineties. Critics and music fans alike chastised S.T.P. for being a Pearl Jam clone. However many fans chose to look past noteworthy similarities and found many redeeming qualities. The same should be said for Craig Nicholls and the group he fronts, The Vines. If you can look past the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s obvious derivative ties to the Beatles and Nirvana their second album Winning Days has many a beautiful moment.First off The Vines debut Highly Evolved excelled when it came to ballads but the rock songs sounded forced. Winning Days is a solid improvement on that problem. The album opener “Ride” rocks along with catchy hooks, noisy guitar solos and even handclaps while “Animal Machine” has singer/guitar player/principal song writer Craig Nichollâ€šÃ„Ã´s best punchy punctuating guitar riff yet.
Nevertheless, the new album is still full of ballads and dreamy numbers worthy of 60â€šÃ„Ã´s psychedelia. Songs such as the slow-fast-repeat mash up “TV Pro” and the first album sequel folk ode “Autumn Shade II” give this record much needed diversity. The strongest among them is far and away though, the late album introspective ultra-melodic laid back anthemic “Amnesia.” A casually beautiful song about being insane in which there is literally only two lines of lyrics and the rest is all blissful sighs and vocal melodies. Besides the lyrics are not where the strength in this album lies anyway, Nichollâ€šÃ„Ã´s talents are truly best used in small focused experiments in musical thought and form.