Hot Oz Exports The Vines Near Release Of U.S. Debut

Excerpted from the magazine for

After scoring high marks in their native Australia, the Vines seem on the cusp of a successful U.S. run with the July 16 release of the much-anticipated "Highly Evolved" (Capitol).

Most new bands dread being categorized, but the Vines have no problem being compared to the style and dreamy harmonies of the Beatles. Once you add their twist of punk and quirkiness, you have the unique quality that has carried the Vines up the international charts.

"Get Free," the first single from "Highly Evolved," is already getting substantial U.S. radio airplay stations, and it's currently No. 11 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. The track is accompanied by a Roman Copoll-directed video that has been slotted as "Buzzworthy" on MTV and MTV2.

The craftsmanship of the 13-track set, produced by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Foo Fighters), shines from the alternating hard/easy song variation. One minute, listeners are invited to bang their heads with edgy guitar-driven jams; the next, those same heads are whimsically swaying. Highlights include the raw edginess of the title track and the wistful guitar playing and vocals of "Mary Jane."

"They're like a nice painting to look at," singer/guitarist Craig Nicholls says of the band's songs. "It's all very intelligent; it's not just aggression. There is some of that, because that is reality. But overall, it's really melodic and tasteful."

Nicholls and bassist Patrick Matthews grew up listening to music and playing other people's songs together. "We started writing songs and did a lot of demoing," Nicholls says. "We liked the songwriting, and we wanted to play in a band that was fun."

They eventually added drummer Hamish Rosser and Nicholl's childhood friend, Ryan Griffiths, on guitar to form the current foursome. The name of the band comes from an obscure '60s Australian group called the Vynes, of which Nicholls' father was a member.

Having supported Radiohead earlier this year, the band is now headlining a North American jaunt. After North America, the band will head to the U.K., where the Vines have already had strong press from previous performances there. They will return to the U.S. in late August to play larger venues.

Excerpted from the July 27, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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