Melodia – The Vines

Melodia

The Vines

Ivy League Records

2008

The Vines have been a band that I’ve been into for awhile now.  It all started when I first heard Highly Evolved. I was hooked on their awesome sound.  It’s like a mix of 60s/70s rock with 90s alternative/grunge.  The result is quick songs with maximum ass-kickery, and once in awhile, a slow song that really gives you a good feeling.  Supposedly, they’ve started recording their fifth album this month, but tonight we’ll be looking at their last offering, Melodia.

Melodia doesn’t hold back, and you know it within the first 5 seconds of play time.  “Get Out” starts out as a kickass tune with the usual vocal sound from Craig Nicholls (I won’t make any mentions of his mental health, or lack thereof, other than this one here).  It could be the best track, right off the bat, but if you listen to the next track, you’ll understand why there is no lone best track.  However, this is quintessential Vines music:  driving bass and guitar intertwined with heavy, yet simple drum support with Nicholls’ throaty, raspy vocals on top.  It really is something awesome they’ve been doing for awhile now.

“Manger” could also very well be the best song on the album, and it would hold that title solely, if not for a bunch of other tracks, all of which are tied for that title.  Anyways, “Manger” is a much heavier tune off the start than “Get Out”,  with the drums being extremely prevalent during the verses.  During the choruses, things lighten up slightly, before the drums whoop your ass again.  The vocals are slightly slower than on “Get Out:, but don’t let that fool you; the Vines are all about kicking your ass at multiple tempos…

…Except when they’re not.  “A.S. III” is the third in the “Autumn Shade” series, but to be frank, it’s somewhat of a letdown.  The first “Autumn Shade” was one of the best tracks on Highly Evolved and “Autumn Shade II” was no slouch either.  I think they should have kept it simple and acoustic, like the first one.  They try to inject bits of their usual sound, and honestly I’m not a huge fan of it.  If it were any other name, the song would be good, but as the latest in the “Autumn Shade” series, I’m sad to say it is not very good.

“He’s a Rocker” is another of those songs that could be the best song on the album.  It’s not as heavy or fast as “Manger” or “Get Out” but it really shows that the Vines can just play a simple rock song and make you want to get out of your seat and rock with them.  Not much else to say here, it’s just a fantastic listen, and a very short track.

“Orange Amber” is reminiscent of the sound on Highly Evolved, though not of any specific track.  Nicholls’ has a fantastic sound to his vocals on the whole track here, but the chorus really stand out.  I swear, sometimes he sounds like he could harmonize with himself, on one recording track.  He is seriously talented.  Not to take anything away from the rest of the band, but Nicholls is definitely the standout on this track.

“Jamola” is a curious track to me.  It starts out with a lot of garbage noise, and then it really fucks your shit up.  Think about Slash crossed with Hendrix, and you get a feeling for the guitar here.  Unfortunately, the track is just under a minute long, so this awesome instrumental doesn’t last.  However, you can always listen to it twice on a play-through of the album if you so desire (I do).

“True As The Night” is the token long, slow song on any Vines album.  The Vines pull it off well, which is surprising.  It’s surprising because whenever you hear a band that can kick your ass slow it down, it usually sucks.  The Vines are the exception to this.  It’s plainly clear that they can kick your ass (read: first half of this album), but then they can slow it down and make a beautiful song like this.  This is a really good track, and in the later parts, there’s hints of a Zeppelin sound.

“Braindead” is up next, and it has such an awesome bassline.  I hate to keep referencing the same album, but it’s similar to “Sunshinin'” on Highly Evolved in that Nicholls seems like he’s a tiger waiting to pounce through the verses.  Then, once the choruses hit, he leaps from the shadows and rips your motherfucking face off because he’s that awesome (tigers are so cool, especially Hobbes.  If I had a pet tiger, or any cat, I’d name it Hobbes).

We’re treated to another beautiful slow song with “Kara Jayne” next.  This is more of a ballad than “True As The Night”.  I’m not usually one to like ballads, but the Vines surprise me here.  Maybe it’s the fact that Nicholls, the man who can make the raspy screams on other tracks, can harmonize so well, and even hit some pretty high notes.  Seriously, this is a really good song.  The whole band is in support near the end, and it all comes together nicely.

“Merrygoround” is proof that the Vines hate spaces.  It starts off pretty tame, with a sound that’s pretty typical for any Vines song of this tempo.  But holy shit does the chorus hit you like a Tyson punch.  This is another one of those tracks tied for best on the album.  The guitar fill after the first chorus is a really cool addition.  This song really makes you want to hit something and feel like a bigger man because of it.

The Vines continue their ever-simplistic titling of tracks with “Hey”.  It’s not as heavy as other tracks, nor as fast, but it definitely is a winner.  It’s a song you can get into with the first listen.  Sometimes, you need to hear a song a few times to get into it and feel the music.  This is not the case with “Hey”.  You can just jump in and feel the energy.

“A Girl I Knew” starts off eerily like a Zep song, until Nicholls has something to say about that.  The song looses it’s Zep song pretty quickly, and it becomes a nice sounding recount of a lost love.  God that sounds so emo, but it’s the best way to put it.  It’s a nice sounding song, again showcasing the talent of Nicholls.

“Scream” brings back the grunge/rock mix.  This track is pretty fast, and can leave you behind.  Holy shit does Nicholls have a few good screams here, giving the track its namesake.  Another contender for best track here, it reminds me of “Gross Out” from Vision Valley (See? I can reference other Vines albums than Highly Evolved… shit).

“She Is Gone” is the closer of the album, and another slow, mellow song, at least at the start.  After the first recanting of the song title, the rest of the band joins Nicholls, and eventually, they work their way up to sounding similar to “1969”.  They don’t get quite to the same level that “1969” did, but it still ends up being a nice track to end on.

So there we have Melodia, the latest offering from Aussie ass-kickers The Vines.  All in all, I think this is a pretty badass album, though not as good as Highly Evolved.  However, it is a close second and definitely worth a listen for someone who is just getting into The Vines.  Or, if you just like to hear some kickass music, it’s definitely good too.  Either way, it comes highly recommended from me.

Official Site

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Last.fm Page

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