High 'n' Inside

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Jumping from sugar-sweet power pop to bluesy light rock to dramatic arena rock all within the same album, Yankees almost sound like a perfect mix of '70s rock styles combined into one band. With this being the only album in their catalog, High 'n' Inside is one of those underground rarities that has a streamlined, mainstream sound with virtually no recognition beyond hardcore fans. The dependable Jon Tiven displays his uncanny talent for writing great hooks in just about any atmosphere; unfortunately, it almost seems like he's showing off this talent after a while. The consistency just isn't there, making several of the songs seem weak if only because they seem like a jarring inclusion after the previous song. Still, when Tiven delivers, he delivers big, and there are a few really great songs found here. "Bad Boy" is his attempt at punk and the polished production doesn't hinder the manic energy and snide vocals underneath. "Take It Like a Man" is a near-perfect chunk of sugary pop/rock that lovingly recalls Nick Lowe's output at the time. And "(Can't Stop) Talkin' 'Bout My Baby" has some really clever lines that compliment the Meat Loaf-esque vibe of the song. Upon repeated listens, it gets easier to warm up to the material. But High 'n' Inside is still a flawed record due to the fact that there doesn't seem to be a connecting voice behind the genre flip-flopping. The reissue adds a new version of "Take It Like a Man" with Alan Merrill on vocals and Tiven's wife on rhythm guitar, but the production sucks the energy out of the track and makes the listener want to listen to the original version again.