# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Samiam - Whatever's Got You Down

  by Alex Halls

published: 29 / 11 / 2006

Samiam - Whatever's Got You Down
Label: Burning Heart Records
Format: CD


Enjoyable punk rock from Californian band Samiam, back after an absence of four years

We all thought that Samiam had called it a day for good when they ended their "last" tour some four years ago and went into what can only now be described as a hibernal state. Citing personal reasons as the motivation behind the extended pause, Samiam had gone from the high of fourth album 'Astray' to subscribing themselves to music’s archives forever. Sometimes it seems no matter how much you think you’ve put an end to something, if it’s such an important part of you, there’s always a chance it’ll come back. For these Californians, love of music proved too strong to resist, even if a couple of line-up changes have had to be made. Regardless, this really is a pleasant surprise. Having made less of an impact on the States, Samiam have always had a strong European following, most notably in Scandinavia and Germany. One of Samiam’s strengths is to have always presented music in a more upbeat manner, even if their ability to draw saddening emotions is excellent. 'Whatever’s Got You Down' presents this with songs on infidelity and heartbreak. No, the subject matter isn’t cheerful, but it’s the way it’s conveyed which passes on the benefits, standing in for any good counsellor. Released on the ever-dedicated Burning Heart label, 'Whatever’s Got You Down' includes song-writing contributions from all band members: a first for Samiam. The album’s twelve tracks represent the more indie side of punk, following the accustomed Samiam formula and containing five years of experiences and emotions.'Come Home' represents this mood on the album with Samiam’s usual heart-felt lyrics, although the penultimate track, 'Ham Bone', is a short, comical track, which adds a slight quirkiness towards the end. Opener 'When We’re Together' gets Samiam’s music career off again and is swiftly followed by some equally bright tracks. 'Lullaby' marks a moment of reflection, moving into the depressive, continuing in the next track, 'Believer', the choruses of which deliver welcome optimism amongst the shadows. This record is nowhere near as polished a production as 'Astray', which is, in this case, for the better. Jason Beebout’s vocals are satisfactory given his time away from singing but early takes for the album lacked punch and were re-recorded due to his strengthening voice. The album may have otherwise suffered. Who knows ? With less time in the studio than ever before, and not by choice, Samiam have pulled through successfully. 'Whatever’s Got You Down' is a good album, which fails only in the fact that it doesn’t quite compare to previous Samiam releases. After a noticeable break this is to be expected, even if the band have had more experiences to draw upon. The usual heart-felt lyrics are well represented, noticeably by the tempestuous nature of a partner, in 'Storm Clouds': “these storms come without warning, there seems to be no end in sight.” The blueprint is simple and effective. 'Whatever’s Got You Down' is typical Samiam: never extraordinary, just a bloody enjoyable record.

Track Listing:-
1 When We're Together
2 Take Care
3 Get It Right
4 Do You Want To Be Loved
5 Storm Clouds
6 Anything
7 Come Home
8 Are You Alright
9 Lullaby
10 Believer
11 Holiday Parade
12 Bide My Time
13 Hog

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