Craig Nicholls and his band mates in The Vines do the sneery, angst-ridden rock thing really well. Of course, the best of this is Get Free but the title track, Aint No Room, In The Jungle and Outtathaway all possess the same snot-nosed attitude. I like it a lot.
But Highly Evolved is an album of diversity too. There are massive ballads like Country Yard and Autumn Shade. It is almost as though there are a number of bands playing. I was particularly impressed by the psychedelia of Sunshinin and 1969 as well as the playful, infectiousness of Factory.
But to be honest, I find this diversity kind of distracting. I found myself skipping back and forth between the tracks, trying to balance out they styles a bit better. Maybe it is as simple as the sequence of the songs but Highly Evolved seems to be a bit all over the place. It obviously worked for them, though, because this album did really well both here and overseas.
Not a Forgotten Gem, but certainly not bad.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
There was so much hype about this band when this came out, and I was thrilled to see an Aussie band get all that attention. And then, when it all emerged about lead singer Craig Nicholls having Aspergers Syndrome, I had some sympathy for him - and his band-mates. You see, I believe my mother has AS, and I'm definitely on the autistic spectrum somewhere - I'm a speed-reader and often take people too literally. I'm also very sensitive to noise and smells. But I do like to feel I have empathy, unlike many people with the syndrome.
So I hadn't listened to Highly Evolved much and I can see why. It's another of those "musicians" albums that YourZ is so fond of. It's technically perfect - if at times a little derivative, but then these days what isn't - but it lacks heart. Soul. Ooomph. I don't know what to call it, but I can tell you this doesn't have it. It's well done, and it doesn't make me wince, I didn't get bored listening to it. But it just doesn't do it for me. It's all in the head, and there's nothing for the guts or the groin.
VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN
For more information go to http://thevines.com/