dress me slowly
Rating: 8/10

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 the motions.

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' time.

Luke Anisimoff