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Keystone All-Stars: Once... And YoungOnce... And Young (2003)
Jump Start Records
Reviewer Rating: 3.5
Contributed by: FortyMinutesWestFortyMinutesWest
(others by this writer | submit your own)
I don’t know what would make someone proud enough of Pennsylvania to make a reference to it in their band name. I hate it here, but I guess this band actually enjoys this state. Keystone All-Stars have been kicking around the state for a while, for around 5 years they’ve been touring the state quite extensively. But until now they’ve always been relegated to the “heard of them, maybe I’ll check them out some day” part of my mind. That of course was changed when I got “Once..And Young” in the mail.
This album chock full of blue collar, punk ‘n roll, sing along anthems that are sometimes similar to bands like The Dropkick Murphys. The album starts off strong with “Concrete Rollers”, a song about city ordinances that attempt to bar skateboarders from the streets. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like an interesting concept for a song, but this band manages to pull it off by turning the whole thing into a story. My personal favorite track on the album would have to be “United”. I don’t think a truer song has ever been written about Western PA, I don’t even know if any song at all has been written about Western PA. “United” covers the struggles of this area, documenting the closing of the factories, mills, and mines that have left so many jobless. The band takes a break from the straight up punk rock for the title track, “Once…And Young” by adding some acoustic guitar. Again, they pull it off well with their story styled lyricism.
“The promise of a new day, once so arrogant and gold, now made antique by the dust of slow decay, and the bitterness that has made its home on my weary tongue is a memory that once upon a time we had a dream.” Everything on here very easy to relate to, it’s not overly complex but it’s still very well written. This might be one of the more pleasant surprises so far this year, I certainly wasn’t expecting much from this band.
Another solid release from Jump Start, this label has really been going strong lately. It’s always nice to see good bands come out of my neck of the woods, especially because it doesn’t happen very often. If working class, sing along, punk rock is your thing, look no further than Keystone All-Stars.
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