The Vines – Winning Days

The VinesWinning Days (Capitol)

Winning Days is a loser of a follow-up to the Vines’ critically acclaimed 2002 debut, Highly Evolved. A sterile collection of largely forgettable songs, the album is a case-in-point example of what can and often does happen to bands whose first album catapults them to superstardom on the strength of a few hit singles.

“Ride,” the first single off Winning Days, contains one of the most irritating choruses I’ve ever heard (“Ride with me, ride with me, ride with me”). Lead singer Craig Nicholls’ Australian accent makes “ride” sound a lot like “rock,” which is an even more lame thing to be shouting about at the beginning of a rock album.

From there, things don’t get much better. The next song, “Animal Machine,” is a spookily accurate Nirvana resurrection by a band that started out doing Nirvana covers. That’s okay, but seriously, Nirvana’s been gone for over a decade. Try writing something new. “TV Pro” introduces some trippy, psychedelic rock into the mix. Its fast/slow tempo shifts, breathy vocals, flailing guitars and diverse instrumentation make it the most engaging song on the album. As for the rest of Winning Days, when it’s not annoying, it’s boring. By the time you reach the languid, Oasis-styled ballad “Sun Child,” the previous nine songs feel like a formless blur.

“Fuck the World” wraps things up on a harder-hitting and less derivative note. It’s the most direct song on the record, and one of the few that would really work live. It rolls with a deep groove, grungy screaming, crash-heavy drumming, and a catchy sing-along chorus that provides a lingering melody to hum after listening to an otherwise vacant album. Sadly, most people who buy the album won’t even hear this song – it’s cut from the clean version, which will stock the shelves of superstores like Target and Wal-Mart across the country.

Even for Vines fans, this record is hardly worth buying. Let the band reassess their direction, spend some more time on the road, and hopefully make a thoughtful, creative third effort. If that doesn’t happen, write their debut off as a fluke. If it does, you can congratulate yourself on your patience and spend those 15 bucks the right way.

12 thoughts on “The Vines – Winning Days”

  1. Well stop bugging about bands having similar sounds, you dont need to be orginal to be a good rock band. First of all, ride is a great single. Can you produce a catchy single? When they were in austrilia underground, everybody loved them and when it came to america they recieved too much attendtion too soon ang highly evolved wasnt as great as we thought it would be. I feel as if that if the vines didnt get signed and stayed indie everybody would praise them.

    I didn’t think this CD was as good as it can get but it showed growth in song writing and music talents. Some of the lyrics dont even make sense by they work in the song. Sure you can hear nirvana in them but nirvana is just another product from the punks, they just never liked putting safety pins up their nose.

    You like what you like, dont let a book or another point of view change your taste. Shit, when i first listend to the album whole way through i didnt think it was a great album but i do like some of the songs. As long they are making music for the right reasons i’ll have no problem w/ the vines.

  2. i was fairly disapointed with the album as well. most of the songs were sluggish, and yeah, dull. tv pro stood out from the first listen, and not much else did. it really seems strange that something that good was recorded along with the other tracks.

    i think the issue of hype is a relevant one….if you had ignored the hype and passed up on highly evolved, you missed a decent album. if you got suckered into the hype and threw down some cash for winning days (i downloaded it) then you have a stale and forgettable album from a band who clearly could not get out from under their last album, sonically speaking. even if the vines had ‘kept it real’ and stayed indy, they’re not getting any praise from me for this effort. who cares if they’re indy or not? indy bands can suck just as much as the latest mtv posterchild.

    taking a cue from nirvana (or the beatles for that matter) is fine, plenty of bands have done it. but the difference is (with the decent ones) that they do it well enough for it not to be so horribly blatant.

    save your cash or buy their first album.

    or just save your cash.

    my compliments on the review.

  3. What are you guys going on about? Winning Days is an excelent album, in fact the best album i’ve heard all year. you guys are hung up oin the fact that their a rock band! when i nfact with this album they were trying to make a party album. Do u people even follow their style or even their views? Go fuck yourselves… long live the vines. Oh, and where’s you talent and albums?? hmmm interesting that we ahvent seen anything…. give it up to people who actually ahve talent… dont degrade them..

  4. i heard this album at a friend’s house. i’m not a big vines fan cause i always thought they’d be a flash in the pan. but, their first album was okay. nothing special, just okay. well, this album just plain sucks. but it’ll do great cause people that think the vines are the shit will support this half-assed effort of lackluster songwriting and even less musicianship. god bless the american buying public. your review was pretty right on.

  5. I heard this album also and didn’t care for it. In my opinion, it was boring.

    As far as having musical talent or albums, I’m currently at zero on both. On the other hand, I’ve listened to alot of music in my life and I know good from not so good. This is not so good.

    Why is it that when you don’t agree with someone’s musical taste they ask to hear your music? The quality of music is not relative, it’s absolute. If I produce good music this album will still suck!

  6. What a load of old bollocks I’m hearing about this Album. I guess its like a repeat of when the Pixies released Bossanova – half the fans felt alienated. Well I thought the first Vines album was good – but I thought some of the songs sucked (in the Jungle – FFS). The second album I feel is far better and mature attempt, and as always don’t believe the hype till you’ve listened to it yourself. Oh – and NME slating the album yet declaring ride as single of the week ? I found that quite weird..

  7. the vines is one of the only good bands to come out in thelast 4 years and i couldnt wait for this 2nd album and it was worth the wait 11 great songs 40 exellent minutes wat else could u ask for

  8. I thought the Vine’s new album was completely and totally beautiful. I spent my money on it and I definately don’t regret it. In Fact, I’d spend 30 bucks for this album rather than 15. If you are someone like me who takes in the music and the lyrics and doesn’t use music as something for the background, you will appreciate Winning Days just as I have. By the way, Highly Evolved is equally good. They are both truly artistic, beautiful, exciting albums. I am a huge fan of The Vines and I suggest you buy them both, fans and non-fans. You won’t regret it!


    and soo wat if i’m obnoxious i’m english

  10. I hate buzzband culture.

    I hate this buzzband.

    Their music is bland as all out.

    Thanks for putting them in their place.

  11. Craig is a really nice guy, I’m sick of people making fun of him because of who he is. Craig is different to other people and he likes it that way and so do I. I hate people who are all the same.

    [email protected]

    *on my msn profile there is a photo of craig and I taken in May this year.

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