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CD Reviews:  Review of  Deliverance  by You Am I


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I found myself with time to kill on Michigan Avenue in Chicago recently, while waiting for my wife to emerge from Crate & Barrel. The most alluring spot to burn 30 minutes was the Virgin Records mega store. Their enormous new music section touted many up-and-coming artists, most with listening stations provided. I love this concept, but must always remind myself to be cautious of the little posted write-ups that often accompany each new release. In short, listening to a record shop sanction some new band’s record is kind of like believing a drug pusher when he says his dope is good!

So I listened to a few quick blurbs from the next big thing from Australia, You Am I. The caption said something to the fact that while the Vines may garner all the Australian press these days, You Am I is more deserving of a real shot. Hmm….

Deliverance opens promisingly enough, with a sexy yet ragged guitar riff that took me back to the Black Crowes “Twice As Hard” in a split second. Unfortunately, by the time the first verse of vocals had come and gone, I found myself still waiting to be punched. Nothing had happened since that opening riff. Elemental vocal shortcomings continued as “Who Put the Devil in You” tracked up. This time I was trying and trying to match up some friendly comparisons to these unknowns. After all, they were singing about Motley Crue and the devil and seemed so determined to light a blaze at some point. 

I noticed the back of the CD cover showed an image of an old Little Feat album. This only confused me more. These young Aussies don’t strike me as the type who grew up listening to 1970s Dixie romp from the U.S. Still they manage to hold my ear for a while longer with ballads like “Til the Clouds Roll Away” and the bar room piano boogie of “One Trick Tony.” I kept finding myself getting hooked on the musicianship, the guitar parts, the rhythm and the general style. But I couldn’t get past the underlying weakness of this band and this project: the lead vocals.

In the end, I bought the disc more to fill the gaps in a five-hour drive back home from Chicago. I got home and did a little research into this so-called new Australian phenomenon, You Am I. This is actually their sixth studio release. Who would have known? A month or so later I am still trying to find a common thread (or even an uncommon one!) in this band or this album. There are a few redeeming qualities in both, but on the whole, I struggle to recommend Deliverance as anything more than a random throng of inharmonious steps. These guys may only need some studio production help to get them over the next hump, but until they do, steer clear of those dreaded “buyer beware” record store endorsements.

~Red Rocker

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