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Jan 12

You Am I: “Radio Rumble”

You Am I -- #4 Record

This gory rendering of a stick figure’s decapitation by guitar caused no small amount of controversy.

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You Am I may be bad grammar, but they’re good power pop. A fairly obscure band here in America, the trio has been quite successful (three #1 albums) in their native Australia since their debut album back in 1993. In 1998 they released the album of theirs that I’m most familiar with, #4 Record — which is doubtlessly a reference to Big Star’s #1 Record — full of ’60s-influenced rock, power pop, and a bit o’ balladry. It’s as good a starting point with You Am I as any, I’d imagine, as it gives a good overview of what they’re capable of, even if it’s less focused (as is so claimed by some) than some of their earlier albums.

A high point on #4 Record is song #9 — better known as “Radio Rumble.” It’s a solid blast of guitar power-pop — part Who, part Beatles, part Jam, a bit of AC/DC (as many Australian bands would be, I’d imagine). Lead vocalist and songwriter Tim Rogers sounds like a more aggressive version of XTC’s Colin Moulding — come to think of it, this song is a bit like something from XTC’s early period as well. Put all those influences together, and you’ve got the makings of a sure-fire winner. But don’t take it from me…let your ears decide for themselves.

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