Because of its penchant for raw, post-punk songbursts, as evidenced on the single "Get Free," this Australian "it"-band will likely draw comparisons to the Strokes and the White Stripes—even th

Because of its penchant for raw, post-punk songbursts, as evidenced on the single "Get Free," this Australian "it"-band will likely draw comparisons to the Strokes and the White Stripes—even though its debut owes as much to the classic alt-rock album archetypes established by U2, Blur, Radiohead, and Nirvana as it does to the current garage rock craze. That's not to say the Vines can't cop the retro fad with the best of them: "Factory," for instance, sounds like a lost nugget from the Kinks catalog. But what makes Highly Evolved such a rich and rewarding listen is its simultaneous forays into more melodic and diversely influenced sounds. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the Vines effectively dabble in everything from Beatles-inspired harmonizing ("Homesick") to contemporary Britpop ("Autumn Shade") and dream pop ("Mary Jane"), making for one of the most well-rounded and broadly appealing rock records to bow this year.—BG