American Steel Jagged Thoughts

Sometimes names and record covers can be deceiving. With a name like American Steel, and a simple cover featuring a picture of an acoustic guitar, I had this pegged for some kind of folk rock, but I checked it out because it was on Lookout, and it turned out to be the best record I've heard all year. Hailing from punk rock's magic cauldron of Berkeley, CA, American Steel have only been around for a few years and released one record prior to this one. Blending bits and pieces of the Police, Elvis Costello and '60s R&B with an infusion of raw punk attitude, A.S. deliver a dizzying array of memorable songs that demand repeated listening. They can play ballads, dance numbers or punk rock ragers with equal intensity without missing a beat. If you're after something fresh and inspirational, drop what you're doing and go buy this record. (Lookout!)