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Album Review

Conventional wisdom holds that when a well-regarded indie rock band buckles down and signs on to a major label, the cash flow increases and the credibility ceases, both overnight. No one bothered to tell that to Samiam: although Clumsy, their first high-profile release, is a career highlight musically, it was virtually ignored by the general audience (and, it seemed, by Atlantic, the band's label). With a glossy sheen that bigger-budget producers and facilities can sometimes yield, most of Clumsy is so well-polished and (gasp!) radio-friendly that its lack of mainstream success is surprising, if not slightly infuriating. "As We're Told" and "Bad Day" swell with monstrous punk hooks; meanwhile, two slower numbers, "Tag Along" and "Cradle" are, respectively, dreamy and angry enough while still retaining can't-miss melodicism.


Formed: 1988 in California

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Part of the Bay Area punk revival of the late '80s and early '90s, Samiam specialized in the catchy, anthemic punk-pop typical of the Warped Tour crowd, but separated themselves with a greater debt to hardcore and a more introspective lyrical bent that won over emo audiences. Formed in 1988, most of the band's founding members had played in other Berkeley-area punk groups: vocalist Jason Beebout had been in Isocracy with bassist Martin Brohm; guitarist Sergie Loobkoff had been a drummer for Sweet...
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Clumsy, Samiam
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