It's been talked up and talked down, put
back and polished, fucked with, added to, tweaked and toned
and, finally (cue drum roll), it's here. And, yes indeed,
Dress Me Slowly is yet another in the growing line of damn
fine You Am I records. In fact, if there's anything at all
to be disappointed about, it's that it took so long to arrive.
Reconciling the plaintive introspection
of Hourly Daily with the freak-out, jam-kicking rock of
Hi-Fi Way, and adding a couple of dollops of Tim Rogers'
solo style for good measure, Dress Me Slowly shows a band
that, even after all this time, still has so much to offer
(as well as so much to grow into). Playing as much from
the heart as the gut has served them so well in the past
that, thankfully, they've stuck to their guns -- still wearing
their influences on their sleeve while managing to refine
them in the process. And with the addition of second guitarist
David Lane, they've been able to open up their patented
style without sounding like they're simply going through
Tighter as a unit, they can afford to
take chances that take them beyond the regular clunk and
shuffle they made their name with. In fact, Lane's casual
yet caustic guitar work brings the album to life, allowing
the two axe-slingers to play off each other as if they've
been doing so for years. Rogers' vocals, too, are growing
warmer and richer, reeking of beer and bad habits without
sounding scratchy, guttural as opposed to gutless.
Dress Me Slowly's opening track, "Judge
Roy", is a great heartstarter. Sounding like a typical
You Am I rave-up, even the twee backing harmonies don't
diminish the tune's hip-shaking directness. Second single
"Get Up" runs a nice line in tambourine, while
"Beautiful Girl" has both a guitar line and sentiment
that is, bizarrely, not a million miles away from 1970's
Oz Rock pap like the Little River Band -- strange, but true.
Still, for sheer guilty pleasure, you can't go past "Doug
Sahm". With the bands regular Who/Faces obsession still
in tact, the added Stax-style horns are a treat indeed.
Away from the hype and hyperbole that
has surrounded You Am I in the past, the band has been able
to concentrate on what it does best -- rocking out and writing
some damn fine tunes. Nothing special, but definitely above
average, You Am I are comfortably settling into their role
as a classic outfit, and I look forward to still seeing
them shaking their action at the local RSL in 20 years'