You Am I

Deliverance

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The Australian band's fifth album continues their spotty label affiliation in the States. This one was recorded in January 2002 and but released stateside August/September 2003. Not that that matters for a band who ignores trends in contemporary music as adamantly as You Am I does. While a slight departure from their existing catalog, Deliverance nonetheless delivers the pop-rock goods. Although their Cheap Trick/Replacements influences are still evident ("Who Put the Devil in You"), the band seems to have dusted off copies of Rod Stewart and the Faces' early-'70s classics. This album's best song "Crash," which takes its cues from both "Maggie May" and "You Wear It Well," ambles with a similar loose boozy swagger that typifies Stewart's best work. The acoustic guitars that propel much of the last half of the disc don't soften the band's sound as much as muss it up, adding a rootsy, more organic texture. The mournful cello that opens "The Wrong Side Now" and "City Lights" infuses the hook-laden, mid-tempo ballads with resignation, but singer/songwriter Tim Rogers never descends into parody or bathos. Subtle, but driving, organ also bolsters the sound as it morphs into a slightly less rebellious and crunchy, but still powerful, machine. Like Paul Westerberg, Rogers is growing into a serious songwriter, although one who still likes to rock out, as evidenced by the rambunctious title track. Even on the most flowing ballads like the waltz-time "'Til the Clouds Roll Away," Rogers sings of redemption through love without irony, as the band shifts into a Beatles-styled psychedelic closing out of Magical Mystery Tour. It's an older, wiser Tim Rogers: one who knows his partying years are behind him, but retains his feisty spark as he reluctantly staggers into maturity.

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