Steve Adamyk Band - Dial Tone (Cover Artwork)

Steve Adamyk Band

Dial Tone (2014)

Dirtnap Records

Fresh off the heels of their 2013 album Third, the Steve Adamyk Band are back once again on Dirtnap Records with Dial Tone. Hailing from Ottawa, Canada, the band plays a simple and catchy blend of straight—up punk rock with subtle pop hooks in just the right places. Being from Ottawa myself, I've been fortunate to have seen many of Steve Adamyk's previous bands, going all the way back to his three—piece skate punk attack called Handicap 5 in the late 1990s. With the aforementioned Third forcing me to take serious notice of the group last year, I picked up Dial Tone immediately at its record release show in Ottawa.

While already being familiar with a couple of the songs from a live setting, I had an idea of what to expect on this record. This expectation is definitely met in the quality of the songwriting; carefully constructed short songs that are snappy enough to stick in your head for a few days, but not forever, which is a good thing and ups the replay value of the album. Adamyk's vocal harmonies carry you through roughly 29 minutes of mid—to—fast tempo tunes, with "Crash Course In Therapy," "Suicide" and the opening track "Forced Fed" being the standouts for me. However, there are two big reasons why I might not champion Dial Tone as much as I would 2013's Third. First is the record's production; a warm, nostalgic, fuzzy layer of what I will refer to as a nod to garage rock does not do it for the die—hard punk rocker in me. I like my guitars to sound like lawnmowers and my cymbals to sound like broken glass. I think the retro—inspired mix is actually holding the album back a bit and I prefer the more punk mix used on Third because it is a better representation of what this band delivers on stage. I am sure the Dirtnap regulars would dispute this, but I think the band could reach more punks with the warm retro fuzz button turned off. The second reason is that it just might be too soon. Third was only a year ago; I did not feel a real hunger for more just yet, so I feel a little "forced fed" with Dial Tone. If it were released another six to eight months from now, perhaps I would bump it up a few notches in score to satisfy my appetite, but right now I'm still plenty full from Third.

Steve Adamyk Band are the best band I have ever seen come out of Ottawa and I can type that with confidence because it's my hometown. While the punk in me argues in favor of Third right now, Dial Tone is still a solid release that will likely please the Dirtnap faithful immediately and stands a good chance to climb up a few places in my own collection over time.