Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review: The Gaslight Anthem- American Slang

To say The Gaslight Anthem aren't influenced by Bruce Springsteen is to say that you aren't really reading this. It's a damn lie. The Boss even showed up on stage with them last year at Hyde Park and sales of their album "The '59 Sound" shot up. There's now a generation of bands influenced by The Boss, some for the worse (The Killers), but rest assured, The Gaslight Anthem are for the better, and "American Slang" is a step into proving that.

The album is loaded with sing along anthems played at break neck speed with life or death consequences, it's pretty awesome stuff that even Joe Strummer himself (another one of the band's influences) would be proud. Songs like "American Slang" and "Boxer" are forceful with Brian Fallon's croon and fast pacing guitars with sing along hands in the air choruses ready to dominate your next festival...or ballroom.

Another charming thing about the band is their writing. Brian Fallon's lyrics are so descriptive and his indulgence to reminisce on nearly every tune here is remarkable. Most song writers don't have the great story writing arc that Fallon does, but when he speaks, you feel as if the guy is actually familiar with life in the 50's or the blue collar, lunch pail American life.

If you're a fan of the style, there's not much to dislike here, but the songs do run into each other after a little while and it's a formula that they already perfected the last time around, it makes the rest of us wonder if they'll be ready to break out of a comfort zone and start exploring anytime soon. Still, it doesn't pose as a problem, since they do it so damn well, and it's better than most of their counterparts who are either The Killers or are signed to label mates Sideonedummy.

The Gaslight Anthem are a different kind of punk band. They're not crazy about overthrowing the government, and they're not a bunch of guys who would look to sell out once the pop-punk train comes calling. You get the feeling that they're in it because they love doing it. They're making music for normal people by normal people, it's the kind of stuff you'd like to put on, pop open a beer, and talk about your...bad pun...wait for it...Glory Days.

*** 1/2 out of *****

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