Review Summary: The backyard gig, captured on CD
The backyard gig, captured on CD, is that what you want? Some backyard gigs are awesome (especially under the influences of alcohol and other ‘naughty’ things), and some backyard gigs are downright ***, plagued with audio problems, intoxication and a general lack of crowd. After You Am I’s forst album, this one, ‘Hi Fi Way’ sticks to the former. The raw and brutal attack of a indie rock gig, played in your best mates backyard, captured on the timeless medium of plastic we call a Compact Disc.
Like any backyard gig preformed by your local ‘up and coming’, the first song ‘Ain’t Gone and Open’ starts off with a stuttering drum beat that stops and starts like the young and pimply drummer would on his first live performance…’do I go now?’ Ok let’s rock. The party starts… with ‘Minor Byrd’ which surprisingly features front man and lyricist Tim Rogers belting out the chorus “Just strap in and Go, The back yard Rock Show!” formally introducing the album to its grass roots. The band diligently plays along as Roger’s fiddle, being a strong rhythm section and backing beat, propelling the song to where it needs to be.
Now, the good times start. A song called ‘She Digs Her’…what can that mean… of course, you just fell in love with a hottie, but she tells you “sorry, your not my type”…well in this case, she’s actually saying “sorry, I like girls”. Oh man! Your heartbroken, but at the same time…wow…that’s so hot, what’s the chance of a threesome? Well, listen to the song; sadly it isn’t going to happen for our protagonist.
You Am I kicks into full gear with the Who-esque track ‘Cathy’s Clown’ which features a formula becomes the norm on most You Am I singles to come. The strong rhythm with the unexpected key changes that somehow fit are almost Radiohead-like, but a few years before their time. The aptly titled track ‘Punkarella’ continue on the high energy pace, driving the album onwards.
Tracks like ‘Handwasher’ highlight Tim Rogers seemingly obsession with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. “I wash my hands in shame, four thousand times a day. When I Make it on home, there’s a smell that always stays”. A simple acoustic track that only features Rogers, but like the odd track on most You Am I albums, shows Roger’s disposition to pursue a more gentler sound in his acoustic work.
While this album has the unfortunate merit of ‘inspiring’ other Australian acts like Jet and Wolfmother (to a lesser extent, The Vines), “Hi Fi-Way” marks the transition of the Punk-Grunge sounding You Am I (of Sound As Ever) to the mature, young adulthood sound of Hourly, Daily.