When a band like The Vines releases a “best of” complication off the back of a mere 3 studio albums, the first question that invariably springs to mind is whether its just a tad bit unnecessary ?! Perhaps not when considering that when they burst onto the scene in 2002, The Vines were tagged by the many in the press as the “saviours of rock” and even heralded as the second coming of Nirvana. In the meantime with a fourth album due later this year, ‘The Best Of The Vines’ (released by their former label) can viewed as a retrospective compilation of their work to date and although the band had no say in the albums release, they did pick the tracks.
The album shows off Craig Nicholls & Co’s unique garage-rock fusion of 60’s psychedelic rock, 90’s grunge and old fashioned punk riffs that have drawn comparisons with an eclectic menagerie of bands from The Beatles to Nirvana. Unsurprisingly, the tracks lifted from the bands hugely successful debut album ‘Highly Evolved’ include their first five singles; such as the ska like debut ‘Factory’, the adrenaline fuelled ‘Highly Evolved’ and their highest charting single to date ‘Get Free’. Also apparent is how with subsequent releases the band has been equally able to abandon their wailing rock and roll mould, to produce a more introspective, neo-psychedelic sound. In tracks such as “Winning Days” and “Autumn Shade”, McNicolls contrasts his fiery vocals by adopting a more matured, 60’s style melodic tone.
Yet, despite these merits, what is certainly evident is that this does not have the feel of a “best of” compilation; in so much that you don’t sense that you’re hearing the finished article. The contents don’t pack the punch of a band that has fulfilled its potential as the next Nirvana, let alone the saviours of rock. Along with the relative success of the other so called “The” bands, such as The Strokes and The White Stripes, it seems that to an extent, the band’s style has perhaps now past its sell by date. Instead, ‘The Best of the Vines’ provides samples of both the bands talent and potential ahead of their next forthcoming studio album and if approached with this in mind still has enough decent tracks to be worth a punt.