Reviews Music The Gaslight Anthem — American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem — American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
The Gaslight AnthemAmerican Slang
SideOneDummy Records; 2010
10 Tracks; CD, LP


Review by: Sean McNamara

The Gaslight Anthem release another album full of passionate Americana-laced rock, with a couple of small transitions.

I was introduced to The Gaslight Anthem by a friend of mine handing me their last album, the much acclaimed The '59 Sound, and awkwardly explaining that they were "a punk band that sound like Bruce Springsteen". Once hearing it, I instantly became a fan, as Brian Fallon (vocals, guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar), Alex Levine (bass), and Benny Horowitz (drums) crafted catchy, well written songs with soaring lead guitar riffs that made me wonder why everyone on earth didn't own a copy of this album. Their new release, American Slang, is almost equally as good, and shows us this band is here to stay.

A lot of the songs on this album pick up where the last one left off. The title track features an explosive lead guitar and crashing drums behind singer Brian Fallon, as well as a huge anthemic chorus. "Orphans", "The Spirit of Jazz", and "Stay Lucky" showcase what makes The Gaslight Anthem so easy to like. They tell stories from the past, fondly remembering the good, taking the bad with their chins up, and moving on, making everything seem familiar even the first time you hear the songs. "Bring It On" features arguably the most enjoyable chorus on the album, and the powerful "Boxer" tells about how "He found the bandages inside the pen/ and the stitches on the radio."

If there is one noticeable change in The Gaslight Anthem on this album, it is that they have tweaked their songwriting a bit to not always sound like a punk band playing Bruce Springsteen. "Old Haunts" shows a darker side to singer Brian Fallon, with lyrics like "Don't sing me your songs about the good times/ those days are gone and you should just let them go/ and God help the man who says/ if you'd have known me when/ old haunts are for forgotten ghosts." "The Diamond Street Chruch Coir" is thick with Motown influence, and "The Queen of Lower Chelsea" is a bouncy pop song. All in all, The Gaslight Anthem still make passionate, easy to like rock music. This album marks the beginning of the band branching out a bit and trying to find their own voice instead of steadily relying on their comfort zone.