The Gaslight Anthem

14 09 2008

Every single review I’ve read about The Gaslight Anthem’s second album, The ’59 Sound, has likened the New Jersey quartet’s sound to that of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run era, probably because it’s completely accurate and impossible to ignore. In parts lead singer Brian Fallon sounds more like Springsteen than The Boss himself and the bands storytelling-style lyrics confirm that they graduated top of the class at The Dylan-Springsteen School of Songwriting. With the recent radio revival of a more ‘classic rawk!’ sound in favour of the nonchelant indie-cool sound of past years, they’re pushing all the right buttons in the media anyway. The Gaslight Anthem’s saving grace from sounding like a Springsteen cover band (and maybe a little ‘twee’?) is the fact that underpinning all this homegrown all-American patriotism is the subtle but sweet punk undertones reminiscent of Joe Strummer and his ilk.

I’m a bit surprised at myself because, in all honesty, I set out to write a much more favourable review of these guys. Being a huge Springsteen and Strummer fan, I personally think their sound is great – there’s a fantastic song up on their myspace page at the moment called Say I Won’t Recognize that has a clever reprise that slightly, and ever so delicately, hints at notes from The Smashing Pumpkins, before it bursts full throttle into epic Americana once again – but it’s certainly not as new and exciting as much of the media hype is touting it to be. I can see them becoming firm favorites with those who favour their punk and rock diluted and grown-up respectively – The Gaslight Anthem give great scope and opportunity for championing a ‘cool new band’ while still being able to listen to the comfortable conservative rock with which you’ve become accustomed. Cynical? Probably. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re a great band with bags of talent but I’d love to hear them nurture those delicate little intricities as heard on afore-mentioned song, Say I Won’t Recognize, for their third album.

The clip below is their video for the title track of the album, The ’59 Sound.