The fifth studio album (and the second through Fat Wreck) from Oakland punk outfit American Steel comes in the shape of Dear Friends And Gentle Hearts.
The name gives away the general feel-good sound of the album straight from the off; Emergency House Party bounces straight in with a great little guitar part, and vocalist Rory Henderson has a really homely yet gruff voice to accompany the Alkaline Trio-esque song structure of most of the tracks on the record.
There’s nothing particularly new or shocking from the record, it’s more of a good time set of tracks for the already converted, but they have some real tunes to them; Safe And Sound really standing out in this department, with a lovely bluesy punk melody throughout.
Throw in some easy-going gang chants, a la Your Ass Ain’t Laughing Now, and a hint on a more upbeat-ness from Where You Want To Be, and it’s safe to say that it’s an easily accessible punk record, definitely at the softer side of the spectrum, but it’s got catchy hooks and a lot of rhythm, and it’s done the four-piece proud. Something to enjoy over and over, for those who already know.
Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts is out now through Fat Wreck Chords.