As Friends Rust – Any Joy
Out August 18th, 2023 on End Hits Records
“When did time start flying by so fast? It’s getting harder to recall the past.” The opening lines of As Friends Rust’s upcoming album Any Joy are a fitting start for a band that has existed in one form or another for over 25 years (minus a hiatus from 2002-2008). Originally formed in the late ‘90s, As Friends Rust has been through a few iterations, but it is the core line-up of vocalist Damien Moyal, guitarist Joseph Simmons, guitarist James Glayat, and drummer Timothy Kirkpatrick that are creating thought-provoking melodic punk music for the modern age. With three EPs, two 7 inches, and a full-length in their history, As Friends Rust already have a lifetime of work in their pocket, but the seven songs on Any Joy might just be their most striking yet.
Originating in Gainesville, Florida and now spread across the country, As Friends Rust wrote, recorded, and produced Any Joy mostly from the comfort of their own homes. Vocals in Ann Arbor, MI, guitars in Gainesville, FL and Brooklyn, NY, with the exception of the drums, which were recorded in a studio by John Howard in Gainesville. Not currently having a permanent bassist, the band called upon friend Andrew Seward (of Against Me!) to play bass on most of the record, with additional contributions from Simmons. Mixed by James Paul Wisner in Orlando, FL and mastered by Matthias Lohmöller in Germany, the creation of the album was truly a collaborative and international effort. Working in separate spaces allowed the band to experiment more as the songs came together, resulting in a familiar but fresh sound that has more bite than past releases. It’s more focused, more direct, more confrontational, more catchy, while still staying true to the band’s melodic punk and hardcore roots.
Lyrics tackle everything from the emptiness of emoticons as a form of communication on “Positive Mental Platitude” to the need for political and social activism versus the occurrences of daily life on “No Gods, Some Masters.”
Diving deeper in, Moyal states:
“The album is pretty varied topically, but there is a throughline in the way topics are addressed. In the past, as with many hardcore bands, ideas were presented from a more defined perspective, with a self-assuredness that, in retrospect, is pretty laughable given our ages at the time. On this album, most of the songs are left open as unanswered questions, shining light on an issue or even debating an issue from multiple perspectives, but ultimately leaving things unresolved. We’re trying to explore the nuances that sometimes get missed, or that we’re often too emotionally charged to consider.”
As the record sends off with the repetitive “We care, but not so much,” it sums up the attitude that As Friends Rust are making music for themselves, not for nostalgia, not for a paycheck, but to be shared with their long-time fans and anyone who wants to listen.