AMERICAN STEEL: Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts: CD

“Emergency House Party” is an excellent, nearly perfect opening track. It really nails that enthusiastic “good stuff’s ahead” feel. The rest of the album is solid. Not quite as amazingly good as Destroy Their Future (One of my favorite albums of 2007), but really good nonetheless. To describe the sound, American Steel is like the East Bay Against Me! (and yes, I am fully aware that American Steel is the older band). Both bands ply their trade in clean and passionate vocals, distorted yet bright guitars, and great sing along choruses. First thing that stands out in this album, aside from the great opening track, is the prominent use of “ass” in two different choruses (the songs “Tear the Place Apart” and “Your Ass Ain’t Laughing Now”). It’s weird to hear that word sang with so much conviction, not just in one, but two, songs. Second is that the opening to “Finally Alone” sounds exactly like a song by some indie rock band I can’t remember at the moment. I want to say maybe the Arcade Fire. Overall, this is a pretty good CD, but it’s kind of like Leave Home or Give ‘Em Enough Rope in that it suffers from being not quite as mind blowing as the album that came before. I think, mostly, because the lyrics never quite click as well as in Destroy Their Futures. Still, this is a solid effort that’s better than most.

 –Adrian (Fat)