Way back in 2002, The Vines found themselves deemed ‘the saviours of rock’, after the success of debut ‘Highly Evolved’. Unfortunately things didn’t quite pan out. Four albums later, and despite unwavering energy, Craig Nicholls and cohorts found themselves falling into obscurity, never quite matching that perfectly old school garage rock sound that once made them so exciting.
With sixth outing ‘Wicked Nature’, they’re back on form - for the most part. Opener ‘Metal Zone’ sets the tone that The Vines mean business this time. Punchy riffs and catchy choruses straight off the mark snap weary heads to attention; they’re done falling short of expectations and have something to prove. From slow grungy musings to electrified rock anthems cut up by characteristic, tantalisingly short blasts of energy, ‘Wicked Nature’ is exhausting and exhilarating. This could be a flawless garage rock album.
Unfortunately while there is one of those hidden away in here somewhere, it’s buried within an unnecessarily long double album constituting of 22 not dissimilar tracks. At least ten too many. There are very few instances in which a double album is necessary and this is not one of them.
There is at least some logic behind the decision, having given frontman Craig Nicholls a chance to try his hand at solo production with the entire second disc entirely his creation, while the first remains under the watchful eye of producer Paul McKercher. The difference however is not so noticeable to warrant the split.
Undoubtedly this is the best The Vines record since ‘Highly Evolved’ and the transference of full creative control to Nicholls is promising. Regrettably, with five albums already marking inconsistent form, ‘Wicked Nature’ goes on for much too long, leaving it just as forgettable as the rest. Perhaps it would be best to just pick and choose a few belters and have a great time in doing so.