What is now the folk punk septet, Steady Hands, began life as the side project for Sean Huber, the drummer of Modern Baseball. The album takes Inspiration from Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen and Frank Turner alongside other classic punk influenced singer songwriters. The genesis of Steady Hands began in the bars and basement venues in Philadelphia as Sean Huber began to establish his own musical identity away from Modern Baseball, the band was fleshed out by friends and acquaintances, including members of WC and, his colleague from Modern Baseball, Jacob Ewald. Rude Boys Of Bar Rock was released last week and it encompasses the entire recorded output of Steady Hands on one handy double LP, including re-recordings and even a brand new track.
This is an album that shifts away the approach of Modern Baseball and heads into punkier territory, albeit on the folkier side of the fence. The album opens with the new contribution to the album, Under The Rug, this is an anthemic slab of indie tinged folk punk, and it marks a damn fine start to the album. From this point on it’s a reckless trip back through Steady Hands entire back catalogue. The album veers between upbeat folk punk, introspective acoustic numbers and defiant Celtic influences, The fact that the strongest track on this impressive anthology is the sole new recording by Steady Hands indicates that this is a band that is still on the upswing, and further releases from Steady Hands in 2017 will be something that I’m looking forward to hearing.
For me Steady Hands eclipses the work of Modern Baseball, it’s a more accessible album, and it’s one that encompasses a wide range of influences including punk, folk punk and heartland rock, this will appeal to fans of Modern Baseball, but it has a broader appeal and covers a broader range. I’ll admit that the Nebraska style re-workings of the songs from Not Many Of Us Left felt like something of an afterthought, apart from that minor criticism this is a heartfelt and original twenty track collection that spans their entire recorded output. Hopefully the fact that this is a retrospective collection of their EP’s will allow them to reach a greater audience than their individual releases allowed, and that this will mean that we’ll hear more from Steady Hands over the coming years.
Rude Boys Of Bar Rock
is available from Lame-O Records here