On MTV, the Vines provide all the funny faces, catchy hooks, and vocal gibberish that made me buy the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cassingle in elementary school, but none of the overwrought importance that magazines eventually made me “appreciate” about the song and its makers. God bless. Unfortunately, the reckless bubblegum of “Get Free” isn’t the Vines’ raison d’être album-wise. Turns out these guys are secretly knee-deep in the hippy-dippy, puking up sub-Syd Barrett silliness that I can’t see Mojo revisiting fondly in a decade.
Winning Days is still more interesting than any album by obvious progenitors Oasis because the good parts come up at the most random moments—spontaneous solo here, appealing harmony there. Unlike their elders, the Vines’ insipidity is pleasantly devoid of recognizable professionalism, making their sudden glories truly astonishing.
“Ride” and “Fuck the World” are the obvious nonsense hits, but “TV Pro” is the first song that successfully mixes both sides of their sound. Lackadaisical verses snap to attention with an arresting woo-ha as singer Craig Nicholls breaks into a whirling dervish that’s downright Fiddler on the Rock. He may fall ass-backward into an album’s worth of Nirvanavan splendor yet.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 6, 2004