Banded then disbanded then rebanded, American Steel is back with their second release since their regrouping. After reuniting just two years ago after a five year hiatus the Bay City punkers have a follow-up release on Fat Wreck Chords titled Dear Friends And Gentle Hearts since joining forces with the independent label in 2007.
Having been around since 1995 the band has had some obstructions with some change ups and personal battles including a bout of Leukemia, but they overcame those obstacles and seem to be back in full force. With their onward battle to keep as a band they pretty much keep the punk rock tough in their music on their latest release making for a solid listen.
Opening track “Emergency House Party” has a full forced approach to it. Reminding me of the SoCal punk styles of the nineties I found myself already enjoying the CD just one song in. Before the track “Tear The Place Apart” even finished I found myself tapping my foot and singing along as if I had heard the song a hundred times before.
“Your Ass Ain’t Laughing Now” is a clear callout to someone that might have overlooked the abilities of American Steel in their early stages or perhaps jaded them. The song is comical as well as just fun to listen to with a small ska feel hiding behind guitar playing.
Hinting at a Strung Out style was “The Blood Gets Everywhere” a track that was a little more technical than the others. I absolutely adored this song and found myself sitting there with the CD book open in front of me reading the lyrics while listening along to the song. I felt like a kid all over again.
Title track “Dear Friends And Gentle Hearts” was a little more of an upbeat punk track inviting you to move along to the song but with a clear discontented message that really will make you think. If a video has not been made for this track showing people carelessly dancing around then maybe one should be.
“Lights Out” was more of a rough sounding punk rock track once again hinting back to the SoCal style of the nineties. Fast paced and to the point the track really reminded me of Face To Face. “Bergamot” continued with the awesomeness of the album as well did “Where You Want To Be”.
This album is going to be liked by a lot of people once all of the current American Steel fans tell all of their friends how great Dear Friends And Gentle Hearts really is. From start to finish I was treated to a revelry of a punk rock album. With no dull moments throughout, this is one of those recordings out there that sets the standard for wholesome punk rock.
American Steel truly has outdone themselves on Dear Friends And Gentle Hearts as they just sound stronger and more controlled than ever. One can only hope they expand their mini tour of the West Coast to more of a statewide venture. I would love to see these guys rock out live. Fans of Alkaline Trio and Face To Face will get a kick out of Dear Friends And Gentle Hearts as well anyone else out there who likes straightforward punk rock from a band not trying too hard just to turn heads.
Here’s a live clip “Sons Of Averice” a song off their previous album: