Released: July 14, 2002
Peak: 11 US, 3 UK, -- CN, 5 AU
Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.6 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: post-punk revival
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 43:35
3.830 out of 5.00 (average of 32 ratings)
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
“Highly Evolved is the debut album by Australian garage rockers The Vines.” WK It “was an immensely popular debut, part of a trend towards post punk-inspired garage bands.” WK such as the White Stripes and the Strokes, “known as much for the relentless hype from the UK music press as for their music.” WK Indeed, the Vines were “hailed by a growing number as ‘the future of rock’” LE and “hyped by the British press as no less than the second coming of Nirvana.” HP. However, “on Highly Evolved the Vines offer something more interesting than yet another trawl through flannel-clad angst.” HP “The Vines are more a conglomeration of the best of the past. The Sydney, Australia, quartet sounds alternately like Nirvana, the Beatles, T. Rex, and even the Beach Boys (and, at times, all of those blended together). On Highly Evolved they present 12 flawlessly crafted songs, each one living up to the title of the album and first song.” LE
“The addictively short Highly Evolved’s primal beat and chunky guitars are certainly post-grunge, but not not in the boringly earnest, imitative way that bands such as Silverchair were – the song’s sludgy sexiness and tight structure also recall the ‘60s garage punk that shaped bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney.” HP
“But instead of just capitalizing on that one (admittedly great) sound, on the rest of the album the Vines prove that their style is indeed a highly evolved hybrid of grungy, garage rock swagger, ‘60s psych, and ‘70s pop.” HP “The breakneck force of Get Free, and the gritty party of Sunshinin’ are proof alone of their deserved success.” LE The latter “throws a Krautrock-tinged bassline into the mix for good measure, while the irresistible Factory sounds like Elton John and Supergrass collaborating on a response to ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.’” HP
“Likewise, their ballads mix their reverence for the past with their own youthful enthusiasm. With its tinkling pianos and sweet, close harmonies.” HP “the wistful yearning of” LE “Homesick is a fresh update on the AM radio sounds of Gilbert O’ Sullivan; the gorgeous, guitar-driven Autumn Shade and Country Yard share deep roots in British pop.” HP
“Unlike many other pop postmodernists, the Vines never sound weighed down by all the influences they include in their music – it’s as if they’re so excited by everything they hear, they can’t help but recombine it in unique ways.” HP “Sonically more complex than their stripped-down contemporaries White Stripes and the Strokes, the Vines write songs worthy of orchestration. But unlike White Blood Cells or Is This It, this album lacks cohesion. Each song is a world to itself, never quite uniting with the others.” LE
At the same time, “Highly Evolved’s relatively weak moments occur when the Vines aren’t doing as much musical juggling: Straightforward rockers like 1969 and In the Jungle are certainly driving, but aren’t as distinctive as the tough, pushy riffs on Outtathaway! or Ain’t No Room’s wound-up, punky pop.” HP
In the end, “Highly Evolved is a great introduction to the Vines’ eclectic style and suggests that they may have a more distinctive voice – and future – than many of their contemporaries.” HP Criticisms like those above, “normally reserved for more established bands, shows the extent of the Vines’ accomplishments – getting compared to the greats your first time out isn’t too bad.” LE “Influential British music magazine New Musical Express…voted it the 2nd best album of the year in 2002. It was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.” WK
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First posted 9/15/2009; last updated 3/9/2022.
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