It was the early aughts, rap-rock and post-grunge were at their peak and then along came the indie rock revival that took New York City and the rest of the world by storm thanks to bands like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Australia’s hottest import, The Vines.
On 14 July 2002, the band made their major label debut with Highly Evolved on Capitol Records and within months they were gracing the cover of Rolling Stone and NME, thanks in part to the success of their breakout hit ‘Get Free’. The critical reception was glowing to say the least, with the UK press anointing them as the best band since Nirvana and the US calling them the “saviours of rock”.
With their nod to the 60s British invasion and 90s grunge, the Aussie outfit had struck a chord, achieving international acclaim and was enshrined in firmament the early 2000s rock renaissance.
To mark the 15th anniversary of the band’s impressive debut, Highly Evolved is being reissued as a single LP on 14 July.
The garage-rock influence was there at the beginning, when frontman Craig Nicholls named his band after his father’s 60s garage-rock band called the Vynes. Since forming in 1994, The Vines were part of Sydney’s burgeoning garage rock revival scene, which propelled Australian bands like Jet and The Living End onto the world’s stage.
After signing with Capitol, the band flew to LA to work with esteemed producer Rob Schnapf, the mastermind behind some impeccable records from Elliott Smith, Beck, Guided By Voices and the Foo Fighters’ debut. Highly Evolved yielded three singles; ‘Factory’, ‘Highly Evolved’ and their career defining hit, ‘Get Free’, which peaked at No.7 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and No.24 on the UK singles chart. The album shot up to No. 11 on the Billboard 200, selling more than a 1.5 million around the world and went platinum in Australia, where it hit the Top 5, and No.3 in the UK.
The Vines put Australian rock back on the map, being the first Aussie band to grace the cover of Rolling Stone since Men At Work, 19 years before. Nicholls had all the makings of a legendary frontman with the charisma, talent and wild stage antics to match. Since their debut, the band has released six studio albums with a seventh on the way later this year titled, In Miracle Land, followed by an Australian tour.
The Vines’ Highly Evolved will be available on vinyl 14 July 2017 and is available for pre-order here. Scroll down for full tracklisting below.
1. Highly Evolved
2. Autumn Shade
6. Get Free
1. Country Yard
3. In the Jungle
4. Ain’t No Room