You all know the background, raised in Sydney, Australia, met at McDonald's, yap, yap, gurgle, drool. The Vines' story is rather well known at this point, as they are one of the biggest buzz bands around at the moment. Luckily, their debut album, Highly Evolved, not only is equal to the hype, it actually rises above it. This is a debut for the ages, ranking in the upper levels of the stratosphere below Nevermind, The Stone Roses, Definitely Maybe, and Ten, but above 95% of everyone else in recent history. The varied sounds and textures, from the Beatles-esque "Factory" and "Autumn Shade" to "Sunshinin'" and its Catherine Wheel vibe to the Blue Oyster Cult-miming "In The Jungle" and the obvious Nirvanaisms of the hit single "Get Free," all add to the depth and complexity of the album. There are even random bits that sound like The Breeders and Dramarama. Frontman and songwriter Craig Nicholls is obviously a tortured soul, but most of the great ones were. Highly Evolved will find its way on to many a top-10 list in five months: an auspicious first offering, to say the least.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN