Home Read Classic Album Review: The Vines | Winning Days

Classic Album Review: The Vines | Winning Days

The Australian post-grunge rockers fall victim to the dreaded sophomore slump.

This came out in 2004 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Good thing these Australian post-grunge rockers already used the title Highly Evolved for their first album. It sure wouldn’t fly this time around.

Like me, you may have already seen reviews that have dismissed this sophomore-slump outing as Highly Devolved. That might be a bit harsh. But like it or not, there’s no way Winning Days lives up to its overconfident handle. It’s not that bratty leader Craig Nicholls and his bandmates have radically changed their style — with their grunge guitars, hoarse vocals, quiet-loud dynamics and insistent pop melodies, The Vines still sound like the illegitimate offspring of Nirvana and The Beatles. Trouble is, Winning Days has too much Paul McCartney and too little Kurt Cobain. Between the few Get Free-style rockers — notably opening cut Ride and the closer F.T.W. — this disc bogs down in a series of unfocused, meandering guitar-pop trifles. Perhaps the main culprit is time — the press notes claim the band went straight into the studio after an 18-month tour, and it shows in these underwritten, instantly forgettable tunes. But whatever the cause, there’s little doubt The Vines are losing ground with Winning Days.