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Australian Method Series: You Am I – Hi Fi Way

“Hi Fi Way” is the second album by Australian rock band You Am I, released in 1995.

Wikipedia tells me that “Hi Fi Way” reached #1 on the local albums chart and is one of the most influential and critically acclaimed Australian albums of the 1990s.

I remember this album being released and I also remember not being too enthralled by the singles at the time.

Coming off a decade plus diet of 80s hard rock, I was a bit destroyed when the labels started abandoning the genre in favour of grunge acts. So I went into a deep dive into the 70s. And that deep 70s dive became the reason why I ignored You Am I.

Main songwriter Tim Rogers later said that he was really high and drunk the whole time. And he wanted the album to sound huge but with the way that he sings and plays guitar it ended up sounding scrappier than he intended.

They had had seven days to make it, while living in New York.

The band is Tim Rogers on Vocals, Guitar, Mellotron, Hammond organ, Andy Kent on Bass and Rusty Hopkinson on Drums.

Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth is Producing. Stylistically it’s like punk and grunge.

Ain’t Gone And Open

It’s like a garage jam.

Minor Byrd

It’s a skip for me.

She Digs Her

Remember the lyrical theme from “Same Ol Situation” from the Crue.

A guy falls for a girl who is into girls and the guy is still thinking that’s okay, maybe he’ll get a threesome out of this.

Well, if you listen to the song; that also didn’t happen.

Cathy’s Clown

It’s almost like The Easybeats meets Radiohead meets The Who.

Jewels and Bullets

It’s a punk pop song and I like it.

There’s a drink you can drown in
Choose a blanket to die in

When you’re out on the streets only a few things matter.

Purple Sneakers

Folk Rock.

Found out what shame can mean
In purple sneakers and grey jeans

Yep to some people this look wouldn’t cut it and they’ll do their best to let the person know.

Pizza Guy

Grunge like.

Grab a six pack for the way home

Who doesn’t?

It’s a rite of passage. Well it used to be.

The Applecross Wing Commander

It’s got this Blue Oyster Cult and Free 70s vibe.

And although I have no idea what the song is about, the groove and attitude of the song grabs me.

Stray

I like the Soul Bluesy Intro on this.

The Vines would build a career playing songs like this.

Handwasher

It’s got this Hunters And Collectors vibe.

Wash my hands in shame
4000 times a day
And when I make it on home
There’s a smell that always stays

Sometimes the stain never comes out. When I used to be a fitter and machinist the grease was in the skin.

Punkarella

It’s high energy.

Coffee teeth and a cigarette heart for sale

Great lyrics.

Ken (The Mother Nature’s Son)

You’ve lived on beans and rice
And fell for Jesus Christ

Everyone is looking for some place to belong.

Gray

It’s a skip.

How Much Is Enough

It’s melancholic. My favorite song.

In the morning
When you’ve wiped his taste away
The last of the red and all the records you played
How much is enough?

Sometimes it’s enough for a few hours and then the night repeats.

There’s a review at Sputnik Music which summarizes the album as “The backyard gig, captured on CD”.

And I agree.

The album is mentioned by members of Jet and Wolfmother as an influence. And for a little while it looked like You Am I was going to break into the US, but that that never came.

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