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The Vines - Vision Valley Review

by Kevin Wierzbicki

For the past couple of years the Vines have been in the news for all the wrong reasons: sloppy playing, cancelled concerts and wild behavior on the part of front man Craig Nicholls. It turns out though that the Australian trio wasn't succumbing to the peril of rock'n'roll excess, but rather suffering through the onset of Nicholls' autism. Now undergoing treatment for a condition known as Asperger's Syndrome, Nicholls is once again functional and the Vines are a pleasure to listen to. Handclaps accent the beat as the boys roar out of the garage and start their trip to Vision Valley with "Anysound," a guitar rave-up where Nicholls and guitarist Ryan Griffith slash at their axes with barely contained fury. Vocals take the spotlight on "Candy Daze," a Beatles-esque charmer but many will find the harmonies on "Vision Valley" to be the high point of this album. Like good sex, the song is slow and lush and contains in its four simple lines a message of overcoming isolation. Nicholls gets his point across (although it's hard to tell what it is!) with a screamed vocal on "Gross Out" and then turns things around with the winsome acoustic number, "Take Me Back." "F*K Yeh" is a raucous pub-rocker, "Dope Train" uses strained vocals as an emotional advisement (don't get on the train) and "Spaceship" ends this effort with a reflective dream. No doubt Nicholls feels that his spaceship has finally found its way back to Earth, a place where he and the rest of the Vines can be again welcomed with open arms.

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