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"Melodia"
Irish Release Released 3rd October on Cooking Vinyl
www.thevines.com ~ www.myspace.com/thevines ~ www.cookingvinyl.com

Six years is, to quote Mott The Hoople, “a mighty long way down rock ‘n’ roll”. Though it might only feel like yesterday that The Vines ram-raided their way into the public consciousness, 2008 finds them releasing their fourth album ‘Melodia’. It greets the world with the kind of blinking, wide eyed enthusiasm of a band just out of the garage. The real story, though, is of a band who have experienced an accelerated career lived out very publicly in a whirlwind of brilliant pop records, legendary gigs and grueling world tours, breakdowns, break ups and the occasional fug of spliff smoke, enough to make lesser mortals run for the hills, never to return to the frontline …

In 2002, The Vines were at the very forefront of an exciting new rock movement around the world along with contemporaries The Strokes, The Hives and The White Stripes. Their debut album 'Highly Evolved', sold almost 2 million copies. Their second album 'Winning Days' was a less happy time for the band in spite of its quality when singer Craig Nicholls’ increasingly erratic behaviour led to a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome (a high functioning form of autism) and an extended hiatus as Nicholls learnt to deal with his condition. 'Vision Valley' saw the band re-emerge with a still fragile yet unshakably gifted Nicholls starting afresh. His gradual rehabilitation saw the band re-emerge on to the live stage again with a series of outstanding festival performances in Australia and the UK in 2006 including Big Day Out, Reading and Leeds. 2007 was spent writing and rehearsing songs for what is now known as ‘Melodia’.

No one really had the right to expect to find The Vines in such rude health, but with this album, the band are ready to drop back in where they started. The record, recorded again with Rob Schnapf (‘Highly Evolved’, ‘Winning Days’) in LA, sees the band pushing themselves to the polar extremes of their sound – pummeling, speedball fired demento rock amped up to the Nth degree (with the likes of “Manger”, “Get Out” & “Scream”) while bucolic pop is allowed to tranq out into classically beautiful lazy day territory (“A.S III”, “True As The Night” & “Orange Amber”). Twisted psychedelia? Album closer “She Is Gone” is a mesmerizing, circular riff that soars skywards into the stratosphere, all rippling guitars and angel’s sigh vocals. Pure unadulterated gonzoid rock ‘n’ roll? Recently debuted first single, “He’s A Rocker”, arguably their finest two minutes and four seconds since “Get Free” (actually that was two mins seven but who’s counting?).

Full tracklisting as follows :

1. Get Out
2. Manger
3. A.S III
4. He’s A Rocker
5. Orange Amber
6. Jamola
7. True As The Night
8. Braindead
9. Kara Jayne
10. MerryGoRound
11. Hey
12. A Girl I Knew
13. Scream
14. She Is Gone


The next stage of The Vines career begins here and it’s a safe bet to say that anything goes. In fact, based on the last six years, it’s possibly best not to assume anything other than it’s going to be a hell of a ride...

 
 
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Six years is, to quote Mott The Hoople, “a mighty long way down rock ‘n’ roll”. Though it might only feel like yesterday that The Vines ram-raided their way into the public consciousness, 2008 finds them releasing their fourth album ‘Melodia’. It greets the world with the kind of blinking, wide eyed enthusiasm of a band just out of the garage. The real story, though, is of a band who have experienced an accelerated career lived out very publicly in a whirlwind of brilliant pop records, legendary gigs and grueling world tours, breakdowns, break ups and the occasional fug of spliff smoke, enough to make lesser mortals run for the hills, never to return to the frontline ...

Looking back now, The Vines career up to this point almost appears like it’s being played out in fast forward. The band, initially songwriter Craig Nicholls and school friend Patrick Matthews (joined later by Ryan Griffiths on second guitar and Hamish Rosser on drums) were picked up by management after having a track played on a Sydney community radio station FBI that was described on air as sounding like “a cross between The Beatles and Nirvana”. Like all good clichés, those two bands would be quoted back at the band again and again, missing other key points of influence like the classic bucolic Ray Davis-esque songwriting, the rough-and-tumble of mid 90’s Britpop and occasional forays into almost Floydian guitar psyche-outs. The band’s first album, “Highly Evolved”, was recorded in L.A. with Elliot Smith/Beck producer Rob Schnapf. Within months of completion, the band were circling the globe with a record deal from Capitol and an increasing weight of expectation (not least from the UK’s NME giving them a cover three months before the debut album was released). Just to emphasise just how quickly things happened, we’ll run through the story in bullet points …

Debut album sees the band grace 4 NME covers in the space of a year and the cover of US Rolling Stone (the first Australian band to do so in 20 years) before reaching sales of almost 2 million worldwide; they play career defining sets at Glastonbury and Reading Festivals; first signs of strain when Nichols and Matthews publicly come to blows on stage in America; first Big Day Out tour; band win the ARIA for best newcomer; their second album, recorded in Woodstock, sees the band poised for global success; huge U.S. tour with fellow Australian rock legends Jet and The Living End; tour the UK, taking You Am I in support; only to see it all slip away when singer Nicholls suffers mental breakdown to the point where all promotion was cancelled; founder member Matthews leaves to pursue other, calmer career options with Youth Group; Craig is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and begins a long road to working out how to live with it and carry on with his chosen calling; their third, critically lauded album (recorded with producer Wayne Connolly) sees a massive return to form and tentative steps towards rebuilding the band’s career; tentative steps back onto the stage (with a new full time bass player, Brad Heald, onboard) at Splendour In The Grass, then Reading Festival and finally, a triumphant return to the Big Day Out. All the while, through whatever mixed fortunes they might have faced, The Vines have found themselves in the strange position of having been championed by everyone from the Arctic Monkeys (who formed after bunking into Vines shows as teenagers), Lightspeed Champion (who recently covered “Get Free” with the Monkeys’ Alex Turner), The Killers (who got the band to duet with them onstage in Sydney at the start of 2008) to the Strokes (drummer Fab Moretti joined the band onstage in Brisbane to crash through a frenetic “Fuck The World”). All in all, a career with a few more moments of nervous excitement than most bands experience over an entire career.

Somewhere in the midst of all this were the bands’ three albums, “Highly Evolved”, “Winning Days” & “Vision Valley”. Each album saw the band build on their sound, an addictive mutation of buzzsaw garage rock and reflective, psychedelic pastoral pop, echoing the music of Liverpool 1966, Seattle 1990 and New York 2001. Listening now to “Get Free”, “Outtathaway”, “Ride”, “Gross Out”, “Mary Jane”, “Sunchild”, “Spaceship”, you remember why people fell over themselves to lay praise at The Vines feet. Sometimes it’s just exciting enough just to hear a brilliant, loud, rock ‘n’ roll band.

And so onto 2008. No one really had the right to expect to find The Vines in such rude health, but with their fourth album, the band are ready to drop back in where they started. The record, recorded again with Rob Schnapf in LA, sees the band pushing themselves to the polar extremes of their sound – pummelling, speedball fired demento rock amped up to the Nth degree (with the likes of “Manger”, “Get Out” & “Scream”) while bucolic pop is allowed to tranq out into classically beautiful lazy day territory (“Autumn Shade3”, “True As The Night” and “Orange Amber”). Twisted psychedelia? Album closer “She Is Gone” is a mesmerizing, circular riff that soars skywards into the stratosphere, all rippling guitars and angel’s sigh vocals. Pure unadulterated gonzoid rock ‘n’ roll? Recently debuted first single, “He’s A Rocker”, arguably their finest two minutes and four seconds since “Get Free” (actually that was two mins seven but who’s counting?).

So, all in all, a mighty long way down rock ‘n’ roll (from the Liverpool Docks to the Hollywood Bowl). The next stage of The Vines career begins here and it’s a safe bet to say that anything goes. In fact, based on the last six years, it’s possibly best not to assume anything other than it’s going to be a hell of a ride …

 
 
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