The Vines - Winning Days
At least The Strokes merely repeated their winning formula for their second album. Some might have considered that approach to be lazy of the band; lazy in respect of not trying to be innovative. However, ‘lazy’ as a term has surely been invented in the musical world for The Vines, whose second album Winning Days is on paper a calculated attempt to sound like a mixture of The Beatles and Nirvana, and in reality ends up somewhere in between in the land of mediocrity.
Lead single Ride opens the album, and it’s the best track on Winning Days even if it’s already a Vines-by-numbers job of sharp, clean guitar chord intro and trademark Craig Nicholls vocal breakdown on microphone. Nicholls as a rock and roll frontman is so damned annoying that at times you want to wrestle the limelight from him and show him how to be a proper showman. It’s as if he is already embarking upon the ‘drug-phase’ of his career before he has cut his teeth demonstrating that The Vines should indeed be taken seriously as rockers. Clearly not even on friendly terms with any trace of reality, Nicholls somehow believes that if he pushes every song he writes through a musical funnel and then adds to this bacteria Abbey Road’s Sun King and Nevermind’s Smells Like Teen Spirit ingredients then it will somehow appease both markets; drawing in the hardcore teens and the psychedelia aficionados.
Animal Machine is a decent follow up to Ride, but that’s as far as the strong output can reach. There’s even a sequel to debut album Highly Eveolved’s Autumn Shade featured which, considering that many of the tracks featured were rejects from Highly Evolved, suggests that the band are squandering their opportunities. When you reach final track Fuck The World, you soon realise that Winning Days make actually be a deliberate insult to the world’s inhabitants, as there is almost a purposeful lack of quality control. Yes the single is good, but one song and ten fillers really does hark back to the old days.
The cover artwork draws on Revolver and Floyd touches but the eleven tracks on offer are easily forgettable. It’s easy to criticise Craig Nicholls the man but based on this offering it will soon become far easier to criticise him purely on his music alone. Let’s face it - The Vines have sold themselves considerably short with their second album. Winning Days, indeed.