With frontman Craig Nicholls recruiting an entirely new backing band since 2012, it’s remarkable how much the sixth album from Australia’s The Vines – and their first post-Capitol self-release – recalls their winning days of 2002, when Nicholls was touted as the next Cobain and played the psychotic grunge freak to a tee.
The Vines: Wicked Nature
The Ozmen cometh (back).
Yet he’s surprisingly dependable; this 22-track double rockets by in 55 minutes of 60s psych-pop and retro-grunge howling, hitting significantly more targets than it misses.
The dense teen spirit of Ladybug, Killin’ The Planet’s Beatledelic blues environmentalism and the saccharine buzzsaw pop of Anything You Say stand out from the slicker album one, while album two, produced by Nicholls, is in tune with his bipolar surf-goblin demeanour: a raw garage affair imbued with a Doorsy vibe on Reincarnation and dotted with pastoral bong-botherers Truth, Girl I Want and Slightly Alien.
With grunge de rigueur again, Wicked Nature is a fateful folly that might just (ahem) bear fruit.