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Although Communiqué debuted under that name with a 2003 EP, the Bay Area indie rockers' roots stretch nearly a decade prior to that release.
Under the name American Steel, singer Rory Henderson, guitarist Ryan Massey, bassist John Peck, and drummer Jamie Kissinger formed in Oakland in 1995 and released three 7" EPs and a trio of albums, American Steel (1998), Rogue's March (1999), and Jagged Thoughts (2000). American Steel underwent a stylistic shift after their third album, dispensing with their previous hard-edged and punky sound in favor of a much more overtly poppy and stylish indie rock style in the manner of the New Pornographers, Interpol, and Hot Hot Heat. In the midst of this change of direction, American Steel changed their name to the much less punk-sounding Communiqué, dropping a truly awful name while upgrading only slightly, into the merely bland and forgettable. Adding keyboardist Cory Gowan, Communiqué released the EP A Crescent Honeymoon in February 2003. The band's first full-length album, Poison Arrows, was released in the summer of 2004. Unfortunately, their label since the American Steel days, Lookout! Records, was beset with problems stemming from lackluster sales and an inability to pay royalties to former Lookout! artists like Green Day, and the label shut down in the summer of 2005. Compounding the delay, Gowan left the band in 2005, replaced by new keyboardist Stephen Loewinsohn. Signing with the tiny Sabot Productions label, Communiqué reappeared in the fall of 2006 with the EP Walk into the Light. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi


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