Reviews

The Vines

Matt Pomroy
The Vines

The Vines

City: London
Venue: ULU
Date: 2002-04-10
For start, this gig was meant to be at the cozy sweatbox of the Camden Monarch nearly a month ago. People who had heard the rumbling of a great new band rushed out and bought tickets, only to be called just before the date to be told that the tickets that they had bought were useless -- the band's management had moved the gig to a bigger venue. It was a bare-faced lie. The gig went ahead although mostly filled by industry types and as often happens, the regular punters were bumped to allow the industry whores to have their guestlist allocation. At least that's what cynics like this writer ascertained. Clearly, there was something happening with The Vines that people wanted to see, even if it meant shafting the paying public. Now at the larger ULU, they had a chance to show the common people what the chosen ones had witnessed, and it seems that their own hype was outstripping their progress. Of course there is nothing wrong with a bit of hype, especially if you have something substantial to back it up. The Vines do, but only sporadically. Nirvana are apparently the biggest influence on the Australian three-piece. At times, they do suck up and blast out the kind of squall that Cobain did during the Bleach era, and singer/songwriter/guitarist Craig Nicholls does have the ability to make his primal scream sound genuinely tortured and not just like a Tobe Hooper film. Nu-metalers take note. But to say that they sound just like early Nirvana would be well wide of the mark. Musically, they are all over the place but the noise levels rarely dropped. Occasionally they hit upon something genuinely stirring and exciting and then -- often in the same song -- they veer off and sound like a bunch of drunken skate kids let loose in a guitar shop. And of course, there is nothing wrong with that. Their forthcoming album has been produced by Rob Schnapf -- who oversaw Beck's Odelay -- so their diversity should not be a problem. In fact, they already have the songs ready for the second album, so don't expect them to be going off anywhere just yet. Slower songs like "Mary Jane" are teased out with a long screeching psychedelic drawl and Nicholls changes the pitch and tone of his voice as much as the band alter their approach to songs. Drummer Hamish Rosser and bass player Ryan Griffiths crank out a ferocious noise, but they peak when their power is limited to short bursts. The 95 seconds of "Highly Evolved" is the pinnacle of their set and, not surprisingly, the current single. As an ode to prostitute's calling cards ("If you feel low / you can buy love / from a payphone,") it's a one of the singles of the year and if this doesn't get your pulses racing then the odds are you don't have one. The lazy tag of "the Australian Strokes" should be dismissed straight away and given time. The Vines could become something comparable to the size of their hype. Almost certainly not the next big thing that some people are making them out to be, but then in a world where Travis and the Sterophonics are headlining festivals it's a welcome sight to see bands who are making a noise that both excites the public and scares mainstream radio at the same time.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image