You Are Freaking Me Out


Ignition Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Without the sudden rise to fame by Green Day a few years ago, one wonders what would have happened to some of the power-pop punks that are enjoying the fruits of success.

Take Samiam, a group who already had received exposure from one major label (their album Clumsy was released on Atlantic), if not the support they needed to make it to the big time. With the release of their sixth album (and first for Ignition Records) You Are Freaking Me Out, Jason Beebout and crew show they're close to being ready to take the prime-time world of music by storm.

There's no questioning the musical talents of these five guys. Beebout knows when to raise his vocal from a softer whisper to a powerful bellow (though he doesn't resort to lung-piercing screams - score one for him there). The two-guitar attack of James Brogan and Sergie Loobkoff is tight and powerful; they know just when to set their axes for maximum shred. Bassist Aaron Rubin and drummer M.P. round out the sound.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And there's no questioning that Samiam can write some great songs - though a tip of the skullcap has to go to producer Steven Haigler as well for bringing out the best in these guys. The leadoff track "She Found You" demonstrates the band's power with a guitar hook. Even better examples are found on "Factory," ""If You Say So," "Mr. Walker" and "Charity".

Yeah, Bob, but what do they sound like? Imagine, for a moment, if the Foo Fighters didn't have Dave Grohl - that's kind of what Samiam is like. Punk, but approachable - the kind of band you'd have a beer with, then break the bottle over a band member's head for fun.

If there is any weakness on You Are Freaking Me Out, it is that the band is unable to maintain such a level of high quality for the entire album. This is not to say that songs like "Out Of My Mind" are in any way bad - not at all. But by the time you hit the obligatory Beatles cover ("Cry Baby Cry"), it almost feels like you've listened to two different albums - it just doesn't always seem to meld the way Samiam would like it to.

Is this a fault? Hardly - there are hundreds of bands who would like to get close to the power these guys whip out in under 45 minutes. If anything, it's the last remaining sign that this band has a little more maturing to go. Again, this isn't meant as a slam - but they have had a rather wild ride while flirting with mainstream acceptance, and this is a positive step forward the band has taken. (I have Clumsy in the Pierce Archives - though it's been a while since I dusted it off, I don't remember it setting my ears ablaze like You Are Freaking Me Out did.)

And despite their definite overtones of being radio-friendly (which they indeed are), I think that some program directors might be scared to try Samiam on their stations after the last two Green Day albums stiffed. (Don't remind me about Green Day's big hit on the radio now - Nimrod was a commercial flop.) Three - no, make that four - words: take a chance, wimps! (Funny, I always thought the whole purpose of radio - besides being one humongous executive ass-kiss - was to introduce new music to people. Having spent time in radio, I should know.)

Should radio pick up the gauntlet and give You Are Freaking Me Out a chance, it may be just the impetus Samiam needs to get noticed - and may be the final step they need towards making the great American album. Until then, You Are Freaking Me Out is a portrait of what is just on the horizon.


Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ignition Records, and is used for informational purposes only.