You Am I have today revealed details of their forthcoming 11th studio album The Lives Of Others, set for release on May 14, 2021 via Caroline Australia. The album’s announcement is accompanied by the video for brand new single The Waterboy, showcasing live band footage compiled and edited by guitarist Davey Lane.
Many of the songs from The Lives Of Others were written on a 2019 trip to the New South Wales south coast, where the band would rehearse when they were starting out in late 1989.
Tim Rogers says: “I was going fishing in the morning, staying in a cheap hotel, and all these folk songs came out, for no reason really but as wordplay.”
Rogers was having doubts about his future in music. “I got a job bar tending. I didn’t tell the guys about it but I couldn’t envisage us making a record together again. I couldn’t get out of the funk I was in. Then I talked to Tex Perkins about it and he is wonderful about cutting though my over-dramatic stuff.” Just don’t play for six months, Perkins advised.
Then 2020 happened, and there is nothing like discovering you can’t do what you’ve been hard-wired to do for 30 years to help see things more clearly.
The band began working on what was to become The Lives Of Others, initially starting with single The Waterboy. It was a different way of working to anything they had done before, no time in a studio all together, no looming deadlines for releases or tour dates, no outside opinions or expectations from producers, record companies or anyone else in the music business. Just the band, focused and energised.
Rogers and Lane did more demos at Lane’s home studio. Kent and Hopkinson could take their time getting inside the songs before injecting their energy in a studio. Once those drum and bass parts were set, Tim and Davey would strip their original demo recordings and build their parts on the foundation provided by the rhythm section. Farewell, folk songs. After a few weeks, everyone realised this was sounding like a You Am I record.
Kent says: “Isolation brought a sort of purity of thought or expression in not being around the usual references and outside input, or any other human for that matter. The notes and ideas just flowed. But you can’t make good rock’n’roll alone so when Russ and I got in the room together it was on.”
Anyone who loves classic You Am I albums like Hi Fi Way, Hourly, Daily, #4 Record and Dress Me Slowly will recognise the spirit in these tracks as well as the care and craft behind the song writing and recording.
“It’s not the ideal way to make a record but it worked,” Rogers says. “I can be a bit of a pain in the neck with either my unbridled enthusiasm or brain-draining depression. For the others I think a bit of time away from me was good, let them loosen their shoulders a bit.”
An unexpected bonus of 2020, Rogers says, was having the time to work so intensely on his lyrics. These are some of the best he has brought to the band. The songs range wide, from questions about what it means to be a man (Manliness) to avoiding opinion overload (Readers’ Comments). And the delights of Lookalikes, which will be the only song you hear this year to find a link between between George Orwell, Mackenzie Phillips and Bette Davis.
The Lives of Others is a sonic as well as emotional ride, from the psych outro of DRB Hudson to the unmissable hooks and walking-in-Paris lope of The Third Level and the rush of Rosedale Redux, where Hopkinson and Kent set the scene for electric guitars that are as beautiful and brutal as anything from ’93.
Lane’s contribution is central, from his recording skills to the inventive guitar explosions of Rubbish Day and the songs he writes and sings, the crunchy glam of We All Went Deaf Overnight and the ’60s-flavoured melodies of I’m My Whole World Tonight.
Lane says: “There aren’t many references to lockdown on the record but I’m My Whole World Tonight was written in the first throes of being confined to our houses. I’m not a hugely social person anyway. If you’ve got a fertile imagination you can create anything you want.”
That spark of creation brought the band close together, even if they were geographically distant.
Hopkinson says: “There is a reason why this band has been together for a long time and it’s not just because we are really good friends. We’re resilient to the things that go on outside the band, for better or worse.
“There was an idea that we would be able to be together at some point to finish the record. Fate had a way of making sure that didn’t happen. Yet we’ve made an album since the last time we were all together in a room, made the best of the situation to create this piece of art.”
You Am I The Lives Of Others – Pre-order HERE
- The Waterboy
- The Third Level
- Rosedale Redux
- DRB Hudson
- We All Went Deaf Overnight
- Rubbish Day
- Readers’ Comments
- I’m My Whole World Tonight
- Woulda Been Me
- The Lives Of Others