Home > TheRest > Samiam – You Are Freaking Me Out

Samiam – You Are Freaking Me Out

Ignition Records, 1998

Not sure what drew me to this one, but Samiam at least hired a pretty good art designer when throwing this record together.  I liked the design that seemed to resemble plastic wrap or ice on the cover with a single match in the middle, though I can’t say my symbolism-less mind could figure out what they were getting at.  I also didn’t know what kind of music the band specialized in as the typeface and song titles gave any clues.  It came down to the fact that they were a band on a label called Ignition Records which had better have been a rock n roll label or I would have sued for slander of the genre.  Rarely does that feeble long shot of a thought work out (I usually get stuck with edgy-looking faux rockers … blarrgh), yet Samiam fit the assumption.

I admit that I had never heard of this group before I gave a listen to this record, yet they have put out records since 1989!  This particular release was their fifth record that found itself at the tail end of the confused nineties and, though they have a radio-friendly rock sound, I’m surprised I hadn’t heard much of them until now.  Samiam certainly fit in with other pop punkers at the time, yet if anything separates the band from the rest of the crowd at the time was the even-keeled vocals of Jason Beebout.  He sometimes has an anguished side to his singing (see: emo) and could be pinged as monotonous from song to song, yet it’s that lower range in his voice that makes the music a little more listenable thanks to the simple fact that it doesn’t grate on the listener over time.  Another positive aspect to his voice is that it blends well with the band, so it sounds like he’s being swept along by the speed of the guitars and bass and not trying to shout out over it.  I’ve heard enough pop punk to know that this was going to be easy to listen to for the whole record.

The songs are your typical quick rock fare, but Samiam does have a few good ones that stand out amidst the formula.  I liked the rather calm pace that the band takes on “She Found You”, only to break into a catchy chorus with Beebout sounding a little like Dave Grohl (or vice versa, ahem).  “Ordinary Life” sounds like it was born from hardcore roots but turns into a heavier rock number.  What I noticed from these two songs as well as others is that the band likes to invoke a lot of background vocals that mainly consist of “whoooa-ooooaah”s, which I can understand.  Something about a drawn out “whoa” always makes a band sound like they want to be soulful even if we all know they just like women a lot and make crude jokes about fecal matter.  “While You Were Waiting” was the most pop punk of the bunch with its quick, chunking guitar riffs at the onset of the song before turning into a band singalong during the chorus.  Like most tracks on the record, Samiam doesn’t slow down too much to get sensitive but they do take their time when they want to amidst thirteen tracks of pop punk.

Check some of Samiam’s songs, including “She Found You” and “Ordinary Life”, on Grooveshark.

Listening to some earlier and later Samiam songs, it appears that these guys are like the NOFX of pop punk in that they are quite consistent in their sound even over years of time.  That can be a good thing I suppose, if only that these guys benefit from maintaining their group of fans as well as being regarded as veterans despite never attaining mainstream success.  Granted, they’ll probably be backstage one day and look around at their music festival counterparts and determine that all the other bands could consist of their children (or grandchildren).  Still, like any genre, fans will always flock to see a band that has done it many times before and still sounds just as tight as they’ve always been.  If you get a chance, check out their 1994 release “Clumsy” for a little more punk oomph.

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