Listening to this record is like a visit from an old friend. It leaves you thinking of great memories and puts a smile not only on your face but also in your heart. The Gaslight Anthem is a band that my love and admiration will not be dented. Perhaps I shouldn’t be reviewing this record because of my blatant bias, but at the same moment, a chance to be the saviour for this record was an opportunity I could not pass up.
Never has a band captured the hearts of a scene as much as The Gaslight Anthem. The '59 Sound is considered a classic record and the album that shot them to fame, and will be their legacy. American Slang was a great follow up record, and this will be the icing on the cake. The record captures the sound of The '59 Sound and the spirit of the American Slang and even leans towards Brian Fallon’s side project The Horrible Crowes at certain moments. The press release says this will be the record to shoot them into the stratosphere of commercial success... They may not be far wrong with that statement.
Opening with the first single, and instantly catchy, "45". Its hook is addictive, and the song is fitting to their sound. "Handwritten" will draw those same Springsteen comparisons that are now almost a plague to the band. "Here Comes My Man" has that jazz inspired sound that featured heavily on the American Slang album. "Mulholland Drive" features some of Alex’s brilliant interweaving guitar lines that flow in and out of Fallon’s verses as they do in every song. "Keepsake" has a dusty raggedness to it with a harmonica throughout the track. "Too Much Blood" is the first time we get something new from Gaslight. A heavy staccato intro that carries a real swagger about it, and Fallon questioning if he sometimes gets too personal with his lyrics and songs. "Howl" has a great live vibe to it, and is destined to be a popular track at shows with its gang backing vocals. "Biloxi Parish" is an upbeat, jazzy rock track which Australian fans got to hear when they toured last year for Soundwave 12.
"Desire" has the sound to be a hit single. Catchy, easy to sing along to, and is tailor made for radio. "Mae" is a slower, sombre track that would’ve fitted onto The '59 Sound. It has its Hollywood references that feature in Fallon’s lyrics; “she has her Bette Davis eyes”. This is followed by the beautiful track, "National Anthem", a haunting acoustic track that is starting to become a regular on Gaslight albums. It has an almost gospel feel to the track, and is heartfelt and honest.
The end result is another great record by a band who can seemingly do no wrong. Many will try to compare this to The '59 Sound, and it doesn’t stack up to that album, but it doesn’t attempt to. This record just solidifies the amazing talent held within these four men. Wiser than their age, and destined to inspire a generation of bands to come.