Sound — 9
This is The Vines 4th album, the band has been hit by the media and has gone through some tough times (specifically the album Winning Days), but they've pulled through and come out with another album. While this is their fourth album their formula hasn't changed all that much. In true Vines fashion the album goes from harder rock songs to the mellow softer songs, changing pace all the time. The Vines have previously been labelled The Next Nirvana by the media, and then hit down for not meeting expectations. However the Vines never intended this, instead there is something similar but so different(which I will get to later). I will go saying that this is not their best album; rather they have stayed safe by sticking with what they've done for 8 years and refined it to something that is a short burst of the Vines. This album in my opinion shows everything they have done in the past and improved it. The riffs, rocky screams and shouts are still there, but here we can see they fall a bit short of something special. The harder rock songs fall short of being The Vines from Highly Evolved, not that they're bad songs, rather they don't have a song that simply make you want to jump up and down like Get Free or Ride. They've tried to recapture this magic in Vision Valley with songs like Anysound and now in this album He's A Rocker. But this album is far from bad. In fact this album is great, just in a different way. The Vines have been consistent in having excellent ballads with great melodies and it simply takes you to another place. Autumn Shade and Mary Jane showed hints of greatness and then came Autumn Shade II, Winning Days and Spaceship. This is what made me fall in love with the Vines, and there's plenty to love here. Autumn Shade III is just short of 2 minutes but is simply a masterpiece to finish off the Autumn Shade series. Put them together and you have a huge epic song that is everything I love about the Vines. Soaring Melodies, lush acoustics and it is what we've been waiting for, my only complaint is that I wish it was longer. However then I take a listen to True as the Night (which is 6 minutes long), this is another great ballad - I might even say it's the best track on the album. The Vines never go for complicated, rather they have beautiful arrangements, maybe that's what makes the Vines different. It is hard to explain, the music is simple but so wonderful, if you've listened to ASII you will realise what I'm talking about, it's out of this world. Their music has a healing power (sounds stupid I know, but it's true). True As The Night is an epic ballad which I can give nothing but praise. As for the other songs there is plenty to love: Braindead, Manger and Kara Jayne are all great songs. Every track has something to love; the only exception is He's A Rocker, which is possibly one of the worst Vines songs. Also they chose it as a singleI'm not happy with that.
Lyrics — 7
The Vines have always been a hit and a miss with lyrics, I personally love Craig's lyrics in some songs, they're crazy but good. Like poetry on steroids (bad simile). However on some songs, they lyrics are so average, it lets down the album, He's a Rocker sounds like something a 5 year old would write, and while you have other songs that sound like a genius drunk poet wrote. Lyrics are mainly simple, but it's the arrangements and melodies that make the Vines shine, that why I look past this. With simple lyrics, songs can be applied to many things, in fact unlike other artists that address certain issues with the world or life, The Vines have songs that are like a soundtrack to your life. Simple lyrics suit The Vines, no complaints here.
Overall Impression — 9
I am very pleased with this album, although they have done nothing different, I am fine with this as it's exactly what I wanted. The Vines have not changed their formula, they have just put out another batch of great songs that I will listen time and time again. They have songs to suit all your moods you are feeling at the day, Craig might be damn crazy, but he can write damn good music. I hope The Vines continue making great music as I'm sure it will inspire many others as it has inspired me.