Band:The Yesmen
Label:Stolen/White Jazz Records
Highlights:What's Wrong
World In A Room
You're Hanging
Casting Stones

Wow! I've heard some classic Australian rock 'n' roll from the last 20 years but I've heard few band's that are as sonically powerful and intense as Melbourne's Yesmen. Their debut album, Prosody, burns as red as the album cover. Not only does Sean Greenway sing with amazing conviction but he writes as equally remarkable songs that recall Sonic Rendezvous Band's more intense moments.

While, Prosody is characterised by Sean's melodic guitar lines and the scorching lead breaks from Stewart 'Leadfinger' Cunningham, it is not all high energy rock 'n' roll. The band decrease the pace on several tracks, including World In A Room and Your So Bad, which feature the saxophone playing of Tim O'Dwyer, whose style owes as much to The Laughing Clowns' Louise Elliot as it does to The Stooges' Steve Mackay. However, just because several songs are slower doesn't mean the intensity is any less. Just listen to the fury that is unleashed towards the end of World In a Room for proof.

With the release of Prosody, The Yesmen have set a new benchmark for Australian rock 'n' roll. This album will undoubtably be a classic for years to come.

Title:#4 Record
Band:You Am I
Label:BMG Records
Heavy Heart
Guys, Girls, Guitars
...And Vandalism

Produced with the help of famed producer George Drakoulias in Los Angeles, You Am I's imaginatively titled fourth album is their tightest and most realised yet. Full of perfect pop, Stones swagger and heartbreaking ballads, You Am I's #4 Record should not only consolidate their claim as the best Australian band of the last decade but should also be their ticket to international recognition.

The opening track Junk, with its mean guitar and slick horn section, is reminiscent of the Saints classic Know Your Product and is probably the most ferocious track ever recorded by the band. On the other hand, What I Don't Know About You is made for radio airplay and is one of the sweetest pop songs ever written by Tim Rogers. Then there's Billy, with its distorted vocals, feedback intro and garage rock guitars, which send the message that You Am I still know how to rock (L.A.M.F).

However, unlike many other records, You Am I's #4 Record actually improves as you move onto the other side. Come Home Wit' Me is an almost soulful number that is impressive in both its scope and execution, perfectly complemented by The Memphis Horns and a stunning piano break by Benmont Tench. Heavy Heart is another heartbreaking Rogers lament, perhaps his best yet with some brilliant lyrics. I can particularly relate to lines like;

Been watching so much TV, I'm thinner than I should be
I'm like a waterlogged ball that no one wants to kick 'round anymore
An all-day morning hairdo that no comb can get thru...

Although Rumble is not as hard hitting as it could have been, it nevertheless is a great song with a great singalong chorus of R-A-D-I-O, courtesy of the Muffs Kim Stattuck, that you'll be singing along with in time. The same goes for Guys, Girls, Guitars, another brilliant Rogers pop song that contains an unexpectedly loud guitar solo that really makes the song come alive. Plans shows that You Am I are nothing but a great rock and roll band while the closing song ...And Vandalism is perhaps the low key highlight of the album with its acoustic guitar, organ and plaintive singing.

Like ever other You Am I album, You Am I's #4 Record has its own personality. Its rough and ready approach and drunk demeanour is in stark contrast to the happy beat pop of Hourly Daily. However, You Am I have never sounded so together and Tim Rogers singing is the best it has ever been. You Am I have come up with the goods yet again.

Title:Saturday Night, Round Ten
Band:You Am I
Label:BMG Records
Highlights:Jaimmes Got A Girl
Round Ten
Cathy's Clown
How Much Is Enough

I have to admit I was a little dubious about this release at first. It sounded a lot like a record company compromise to releasing a greatest hits album. Also, You Am I's last three albums have been released with bonus discs of live material. So is there any real need for the release of Saturday Night, Round Ten? Well, with Tim Roger's opening quote of 'I'm going to have myself some unreal fucking good times' the answer is a resounding yes.

With an impressive back catalogue from which to choose, You Am I could have easily released a double album. As it is, this set contains songs from every album as well as including the brilliant new single 'Round Ten and crowd favourites Berlin Chair, Rumble and Purple Sneakers. There is also still room for more obscure songs like Gasoline For Two, an extended version of Trike (which verges into Willie Dixon's I Just Want To Make Love To You) and an appropriately loud cover of the MC5's version of Ramblin' Rose. New guitarist David Lane really is a revelation, helping to not only fill out the bands sound but also bringing another edge to songs like Jaimmes Got A Girl, Minor Byrd and Cathys Clown.

A lot of people will probably complain that all of Tim's on stage banter has been edited out. However, I feel this is one of the albums strength as it would soon become boring and distracting after a couple of listens. Here we are free to concentrate on the songs. It is also worth noting that Paul McKercher's production is excellent, with the guitars mixed loud the way they should be.

Whilst Saturday Night Round Ten is not perfect (it is a live album after all), all the honesty, passion and rock 'n' roll fever are present that have made You Am I one of the best live rock bands in the world today. Why be contemporary when you can be this timeless?

Title:Dress Me Slowly
Band:You Am I
Label:RCA Records
Highlights:Judge Roy
Bring Some Sun Back
Gone, Gone, Gone
Kick A Hole In The Sky

Despite all the trials and tribulations associated with recording Dress Me Slowly, You Am I can now get some sleep at night, happy in the knowledge that they have just released their most consistent and complete album yet. The band may over ten years old but they are still peaking. Tim's singing continues to get better and better while the addition of David Lane to the band's lineup seems to have inspired everyone into playing at their best. However, perhaps more importantly, Tim Rogers seems to found true happiness at long last and this manifests itself in the music as a sense of self confidence, that along with the band's resolute vision of rock n roll, makes Dress Me Slowly the album that it is. From the glorious opening chords of Judge Roy to the touching Beautiful Girl to the rollicking Doug Sham, Dress Me Slowly moves from one great song to another (and I'm not even counting the band's two singles, Get Up and Damage) However it's not until the first power chords of Satisfied Mind that you realise You Am I have really come to play. While most albums fall away on the second side, You Am I just go from strength to strength, culminating in the album's best two songs, Gone, Gone, Gone and Kick A Hole In The Sky. I could keep crapping on about why this is so great, but sometimes you get a feeling deep down in your heart that speaks more truth than words can express. I've already pencilled this in as my album of the year as well as perhaps the most uplifting.

Title:Singles 'n' Stuff
Band:The Yum Yums (Norway)
Label:Screaming Apple Records
Highlights:Girls Like That
Be My Baby
Be With Me
Back To Rosie
Goodbye To You

Occasionally I put a new album on the stereo and the effect is an instantaneous. No sooner had I started to play this CD, I was jumping around the room, singing along to instant classics like Girls Like That (The band's first single) and Crazy Over You. In fact this CD is full of classics; half of them band originals and the rest cool covers by the likes of Paul Collin's The Beat, The Rubinoos, Barracudas, Romantics and even The Ohio Express' s Chewy Chewy, which one could well be the band's theme song. Quite simply The Yum Yums are one of the best pop-punk bands around and this is the perfect place to start for anyone who has yet to be addicted to their sugary sweet charms.