The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang (SideOneDummy) 14/06/2010

May 31, 2010 by  

It is often said that, “Great art doesn’t borrow it steals”. Never has this statement been more apparent than when listening to ‘American Slang’, the much anticipated third album from The Gaslight Anthem. The latest offering from the New Jersey rockers is a riotous concoction of grinding punk guitars and classic rock imagery.

The Springsteen influence is still the most prominent here, but instead of shirking away from this similarity, American Slang embraces it. With songs like ‘Boxer’ “Try to be a man/ Tough just like your father” Brian Fallon sounds more like his hero than ever. But hey, that’s ok. So what if we can hear his record collection through his songs? Here is a band that is not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. Nobody seemed to mind when Springsteen sounded like Dylan.

Having said this, American Slang should not be considered some wistful tribute record. Brian Fallons lyrical musings have expanded further from the retro escapism of previous offering ‘The 59 Sound’. Indeed it becomes apparent as the record progresses; Fallon has perfected his ability of painting a scene, instantly drawing the listener in with his opening lines. For example on album highlight ‘The Diamond Church Street Choir’ he sings: “Now the lights go low on the avenue/And the cars pass by in the rain/ The university boys and the girls fill the bars/Well I’m just waiting on the light to change”

The ten songs of American Slang clock in at just under 35 minutes all together, there is no filler here. This is a sharp, focused record with one bright guitar hook after another complimenting Fallons rasping vocal perfectly.

Ultimately American Slang benefits from the unmistakable sound of a band that loves the music it is creating. There is certainly a large chunk of nostalgia here, but the songs are delivered with such sincerity it’s hard not to fall in love.

Expect this to be huge. The summer of 2010 should belong to one band: The Gaslight Anthem.

[rating:4]


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