deliverance
Rating: 4.5/5

Although they've never enjoyed a level of recognition or popularity that can compete with the regard held for them in their native Australia, You Am I have maintained a work ethic and love of good ol' rock and roll that few can equal. Especially since the release of 1996 's Hourly, Daily, You Am I have added everything from strings to brass to keyboards to a mix that ranges from heavy rock to power pop to country-folk. Their success is based on keeping the song first and foremost. The band has stories to tell, and they know how to tell them.

And, yes, Deliverance maintains that high standard.

Their second studio effort as a four-piece finds the band making the most of a dual guitar attack on tracks like the heavy "Who Put The Devil In You" and the strut of "Nifty Lil Number Like You", but don't look to the band to merely turn the amps ups throughout Deliverance. There's a lot going on here, and thankfully the arrangements don't have to compete with volume. The end results include standouts like the delicate pop of "Ribbons And Bows", the good-time feel of "One Trick Tony" (which would be a huge hit in a just world), and "Nothing's Ever Gone Be The Same Again" is as strong an anthem as most any you'd care to name.

Tim Rogers continues to demonstrate his knack for deliver fine acoustic ballads that manage to steer wide of being predictable, or even just plain boring. We've seen flashes of this on previous You Am I efforts and most notably on his solo What Rhymes With Cars And Girls, but they account for much of the unique qualities on Deliverance. The delicate cello and piano on "City Lights" perfectly complement his earnest vocal, for example. From there, the closing "When You Know What You Want" sounds almost like a reprise while "The Wrong Side Now" is probably the most delicate thing the band has ever done. The rhythm section of Russell Hopkinson and Andy Kent continue to show an admirable ability to go from keeping things simple to adding the appropriate crashes and booms when needed.

So Deliverance becomes a worthy addition to You Am I's catalog of some of the finest rock and roll out there. Consider that a tribute to the band's honesty and appreciation for the fact that it isn't rock stars that are supposed to be larger than life - it's the music itself that should be.