Ladies, may I present You Am I lead singer Tim Rogers, thinking woman's crumpet. Especially when he takes his shirt off, as he is wont to do. (Check out the website for some confirmation of his lean, ripped, tattooed torso. Hoo.) This album - their debut - might tempt you think of them as just another Aussie pub rock band, You Am I have come leaps and bounds since it was recorded in '93. Their following album, Hi Fi Way, is the one that got them the most acclaim and cemented their standing in Australia's hearts.
I've not had that much of a history with the band, coinciding as they did with my voyage into all that is dance. Not that I was unaware of them, just that I didn't won their music. But if I'd been paying attention, I might have. As I recall I got this album and another as part of a chuckout at the company I worked for. Score!
One performance of theirs I particularly enjoyed was at the Sydney section of the Sound Relief concert (sample here) where they joined many other acts, including my local MP and Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, in raising funds for the victims of the Queensland floods and Victorian bushfires. We love a sunburnt country, indeed.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
I’ve been looking forward to writing about this band pretty much ever since we started this blog. They are, without a doubt, one of Australia’s premier rock bands, one who I’ve seen live more than any other Aussie act, in their various guises, from the early full on rock shows to their more stately, but still sweaty, latter years. They have a well-deserved reputation are renowned for their live shows and Tim Rogers is considered to be one of the best singer/songwriters Australia has ever produced. Over the years, I've owned a lot of their albums but living in group houses has seen the collection drastically depleted.
Consistently cited by both fans, industry insiders and some of the biggest bands in the world as a favourite, it is a mystery as to why they’ve never been able to grow a decent following beyond our fair shores. That they have been a constant in the hearts of the Australian music-loving public for nearly 20 years and are the only band to have 3 albums in a row debut at the number one spot on the ARIA charts only adds to this conundrum.
Sound As Ever, their debut album, was produced by Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo who agreed to the job after he saw them perform at the Big Day Out in 1993 and was blown away by their presence and the songs they performed. It is almost certainly because of his involvement at the early stages of You Am I’s career that gave the band the confidence they needed to continue.
There are so many good songs on this album, it is hard to pin down a single, defining track. I really love their full on rock tracks like Off The Field, Corporalia and Berlin Chair but personally, the song that got inside me the most was Jaimme’s Got A Girl, one of the more mellower tracks. It not only highlighted Rogers sense of melody and his great voice but acts as a harbinger for the future sound of the band.
Just about to release their 9th studio album as a band (Tim Rogers has a well-established solo career as well), You Am I, while veterans of the Australian scene, are still as popular and probably more relevant now than they’ve ever been. All they need is for the rest of the world to catch up. And I need to add a few more to our list of must-haves.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information go to: http://www.youami.com.au/
In our collection we also have Hi Fi Way