you am i – hi fi way

the wind’s so strong you decided that you just don’t wanna be carried with it anymore

here it is. the first album i ever bought with my own money. the first album i truly owned. the first band i saw live, playing these songs. the first time i knew that music would be part of me forever. i was sixteen.

oh, the quiet build-up of the first twenty seconds of cathy’s clown, ending in beautiful bass-heavy rock. you hear timmy’s wavering voice towards the end, which was actually at his best, just before he screams briefly. not every song here was brilliant, but it didn’t need to be; they’re still all etched in my brain. i seriously thought that every modern album had to be fourteen songs, because this one was.

these songs were so phenomenal when performed live – they were made for it. it was still an album that had hard rock moments, similar to their debut previously covered here. take a song like jewels and bullets, with so many fantastic features from start to finish. on the surface, it’s just a straightforward rock song. but when you listen, you pick up significant key changes; tim’s noise guitar tricks after the second verse and leads the back end of the song through almost exclusive instrumental, then breaks down but is no less heavy – constantly driving to an inevitable conclusion, and all in under three minutes.

the applecross wing commander is similar, showcasing more of the skill of andy on bass. maybe not the best bassist ever, but he had a distinctive style that’s perfectly captured on this album. the same goes for the simplicity of punkarella, pushed relentlessly forward by rusty’s rapid drumming.

i didn’t know exactly what tim was singing about, but purple sneakers absolutely nailed how i felt in 1994. the sonics and the tone of his voice; his words (as much as i could make out). it wasn’t about love, because that wasn’t where my life was at. it was about confusion in youth; discovering a hedonistic scene; living that vicariously. and for the record, there’s no such place as the glebe point bridge (though there is a suburb in sydney called glebe). half fiction, half real.

this album, combined with publicity shots of the band plastered on my bedroom wall, also inspired my first and only published piece of creative writing; a poem that found its way onto the dB young writers page, in the best local music rag. i got fifty bucks and thought i’d never see that kind of cash again.

it made a teenager feel like they could do anything. and while my ensuing university education gave me what i needed to explore independent thought and then make a living out of that, i will always look back on that time as an era of endless possibility. the world really was ours, and these boys convinced me i had a part in it.

do you need somebody to feel somebody?

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