(Capitol) The Vines know how to make a memorable impression -- their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gig a few summers ago featured lead mumbler Craig Nicholls sprawled onstage singing OutKast's "Ms. Jackson" as if he were about to faint under the weight of its apologies. Unfortunately, the Aussie quartet's predilection for messy karaoke saturates its curiously forgettable sophomore effort, Winning Days.
While not as scatterbrained as the Nirvana/Oasis/Supergrass imitations on Highly Evolved, the Vines' debut, Days doesn't help them establish any distinctive identity of their own. Quasi-psychedelic tunes filled with sun-soaked, droning harmonies in the vein of the Verve, Ride, and mid-1990s Blur abound, highlighted by the above average "She's Got Something to Say" and janglepoppin' "Rainfall." Less successful, however, is "Evil Town," whose gremlin-with-a-vendetta growls and sub-sludge riffs sound like castoffs from Pearl Jam's Ten. By the time Days ends, with the sloppy snarls and garage-borne strut of "Fuck the World," listeners are hard-pressed not to dredge up as much ire for this unremarkable disc. -- Annie Zaleski