The Vines is a loaded name that can mean anything from the early successes of their debut album, Highly Evolved, all the way through to front-man and mainstay, Craig Nicholls’ tortured past. If we can set aside the bullshit and listen to ‘Metal Zone’, the debut single from their forthcoming, crowd-funded and independent record, Wicked Nature, I think everyone will be happy. Okay?

The song is supposed to be a homage to the band’s favourite distortion pedal. Like many Vines hits, it toys with different tones and dynamics, skipping through both loudness and softness like they were each going out of fashion. The first 30 seconds are a hazy jangle (the radio edit only goes for 2:24) before things become even more freewheeling and hyper.

A few years older and it seems Nicholls is still convincing as a snot-nosed punk but equally as good at playing a haunted choir boy. Ultimately this means the song packs a punch, is energetic and rip-snorting, but it does throw up the question of whether it is enough of a career progression in terms of sound. Overall, the jury’s not yet out.

Originally published on 14 August 2014 at the following website:

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