Review - You Are Freaking Me Out

Artist: Samiam

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Maybe "selling out" isn't the greed-based trip that most punk purists would have you believe. Four years after their last major- label release, Samiam's "You Are Freaking Me Out" starts right where they left off with catchy, melodic, mixed-tempo, emotion- filled, non-traditional punk. The Berkeley, Ca., quintet have matured musically and added a new drummer in the process, changes clearly evident from the first track, "Full On," to the band's version of the Beatles' "Cry Baby Cry."

Even Sergie Loobkoff and James Brogan's guitar sounds are cleaner and more varied as found in the clean, bouncy guitar and drum intro to "She Found You" or the metaphoric alterna-rocker "Factory." "Charity," a reflection on roadside panhandlers, showcases the band's rhythm section before giving way to the faster, more punk-oriented "While You Were Waiting."

To call this Samiam's masterpiece is a bit presumptuous, but this is their best album to date -- especially if you like the more polished sound of their later releases. "Selling out" isn't as bad as purists would have you believe.

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