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Album Review

Melodia offers a short 'n' simple version of the Vines' freewheeling sound, interspersing the fuzz-guitar freakouts that launched the band in 2001 with the measured, melodic songs that help differentiate the Vines from other members of the garage rock revival. Like 2006's Vision Valley, it's also clouded by the specter of Craig Nicholls' mental disorder, which splintered the band's lineup in 2004 and threw its ability to tour into jeopardy. Confining himself to the studio should be good for Nicholls, but the songwriter focuses on brevity rather than craft, halting most of these songs around the two-minute mark without packing them full of dense, bubblegum-punk hooks. When the band barges its way through a song like "He's a Rocker," the result recalls the glory days of Highly Evolved, when Nicholls' tendency to go bonkers on-stage was mitigated by the punky promise of his tunes. Elsewhere, Melodia offers up a handful of winsome slower numbers — most notably the lushly harmonized "Orange Amber" and "Kara Jayne," two charming examples of Nicholls' fascination with the Beatles — but those fleeting highlights don't replace the swagger, the snot-nosed attitude, or the crazed noise that propelled the band to platinum status several years prior. On the sunny side, those willing to branch out may also find themselves enamored with "True as the Night," the album's requisite six-minute epic that, unlike the lengthy psychedelic pop opuses that conclude the Vines' previous albums, intentionally bisects Melodia's 14-song track list. Could it be a sign that the Vines wish to emphasize their diversions from the garage rock formula as much as the formula itself? Perhaps, but Melodia is too brief to yield any real answers.


Formed: 1999 in Sydney, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed in Australia in the late '90s, the Vines rose to prominence during the garage rock revival of the early 2000s, joining bands such as the Hives, Jet, and the Libertines in their confident swagger and punky energy. While other groups took cues from the Stooges and MC5, however, the Vines found inspiration elsewhere, particularly in the grungy craft of Nirvana and the melodic, psychedelic appeal of vintage British pop. The combination helped make their debut album, 2002's Highly Evolved, an international...
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Melodia, The Vines
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