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You Am I's #4 Record

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Album Review

It took a full year to appear — old label Warner Bros. decided not to release this LP, after having sent advance CDs to press types, duhhhh — but #4 Record is worth the wait. The even better news is that power trio You Am I finally makes some headway toward matching its vicious, chaotic live intensity. Yet they retain the gratifying, masterful blend of timeless pop/rock & roll styles that made their previous LP such an ultimately distinct pleasure. To start, the mid-period Replacements influence is readily detectable. Press reactions have tended more toward Jam comparisons, a brilliant band that singer/writer/guitarist Tim Rogers actually dislikes! But what he does rate is the bands the Jam were weaned on, the '60s Who and Small Faces, as well as the older black R&B/soul and crackling '50s rock & roll combos that inspired those British mods. Add in a decided flavor of Big Star — the LP title must be a sop to Alex Chilton's early-'70s power pop marvel #1 Record — and you have an LP that beguiles, teases, sweetens, and often throbs in popcraft. It also blasts in fits and starts of harsh edge, chops, infectious attitude, and, when it suits them, abandon. If these crackerjack Aussies are carrying on 30 years worth of heritage with intelligence and spit, then #4 Record is their Radio City to Hourly, Daily's #1 Record, their Setting Sons or Sound Affects to All Mod Cons, their Pleased to Meet Me to Tim. That is, it's more scattershot, more sprawling, less cohesive, and yet, somehow more surprising and doggedly unique. Like some of the above, more obtuse LPs, #4 Record requires more time to get the full joy of its lovely to cranky to happy to sorrowful to explosive twists and turns, but the payoff is big.


Formed: 1989 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australi

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Centered around the prolific songwriting skills of singer/guitarist Tim Rogers, pop group You Am I was one of the most successful and internationally admired Australian bands of the '90s. At home, they've scored three number one albums, Sonic Youth and Soundgarden are counted among their admirers, and Silverchair even named themselves after a You Am I song. Their influences combine the Who, the Small Faces, the Jam, the Clash, and the Replacements. Rogers formed his first band while studying arts/law...
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You Am I's #4 Record, You Am I
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