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Old 07-14-2013, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or Swim

Let's make no bones about it, New Jersey's The Gaslight Anthem have tapped into a truly passionate, all-American hormone that brims with promise and a truly ecstatic joie de vivre with their solo effort.
This becomes so critically evident from the brash opener 'Boomboxes and Dictionaries', that exudes a lust for life unheard since Springsteen's fiery years of excessive adolescent energy. Their blue collar spirits that flow through every note of the raucous guitar and furious pounding of the drums show more gruff spirit than a lumberjack felling a Redwood in a harsh Oregon winter. This provides the first winning hand for the strong suits to follow in the first half of the album, which reaches it's pinnacle with 'We Came To Dance', which stands firm as one of the albums finest moments with it's arpeggiated, chiming riff, but with a fist-raising, testosterone fuelled chorus to boot.
However, with such a strong set of songs that open the album, the quality unfortunately descends with 'The Navesink Banks' - an enervatingly unoriginal slice of emotive Americana that you can imagine even 'The Boss' himself cringing at. Although it is understandable that they attempt to show variety by incorporating this acoustic led track, it amounts to a dissatisfying notion that they have only used a tried and tested form of songwriting in this section of the album. Even when the album's full-throttle energy continues with 'Red In The Morning' you can't help feeling that the blue-collar theme is growing a little wearisome.
But before the fears that the album will descend into tedium become too frustrating, they miraculously return to form with 'Drive' which gloriously saves the listener from concluding that the first set of 5 songs were merely a fluke. The last place where the songwriting dissappoints is 'Bed at Night' - a track similar to 'The Navesink Banks' except opened with a harmonica, which evokes a certain sentimentality that recalls early Bob Dylan, but falls flat with lack of innovative songwriting prowess.
As a debut effort, this is an exceptionally admirable album from the New Jersey mob, brandished with the refreshing sounds of a youthful and determined band. But this is also the sound of a band who have not yet realised their true ingenuity of unique songcraft, and need to uncover their potential quickly before their second album if they don't want to be labelled as a Springsteen styled cliché. Frontman Brian Fallon clearly wears his prime influence on his sleeve with unfortunately often trite lyricism such as "We are the last of the jukebox Romeos, we are the romantics by the light of the fourway" in 'We Came To Dance' - which sounds exactly like the kind of nauseatingly romantic line only 'The Boss' could come up with. Sadly, this is the kind of obvious expression of influence that will leave them open to ridicule from a vast variety of critics
But for a record that sounds as American as an apple pie wrapped up in the stars and stripes, Brian Fallon & Co. make it evident that they're not sinking any time soon. They want to swim all the way.

7/10

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Old 07-14-2013, 04:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The 59' Sound is a much better record.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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This is the only Gaslight Anthem album I haven't listened to. I get more of a Replacements vibe off them than a Springsteen vibe so that's where their appeal lies with me. I wouldn't be the biggest fan but I saw them play in Dublin only a few weeks ago and they were very enjoyable.

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The 59' Sound is a much better record.
Agreed, and everything they've released since has failed to live up to it.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is the only Gaslight Anthem album I haven't listened to. I get more of a Replacements vibe off them than a Springsteen vibe so that's where their appeal lies with me. I wouldn't be the biggest fan but I saw them play in Dublin only a few weeks ago and they were very enjoyable.


Agreed, and everything they've released since has failed to live up to it.
Agreed, but they haven't made a bad record yet. I too saw them live, it's still to this day my favorite concert.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Agreed, but they haven't made a bad record yet. I too saw them live, it's still to this day my favorite concert.
They haven't made a bad record yet but Handwritten contained a few forgettable tracks and strayed a little too close to Pearl Jam-style arena rock at times. Great live band alright, Brian Fallon's stage banter is priceless.
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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They haven't made a bad record yet but Handwritten contained a few forgettable tracks and strayed a little too close to Pearl Jam-style arena rock at times. Great live band alright, Brian Fallon's stage banter is priceless.
I loved Handwritten. Are you aware Brian Fallon's making a solo record? That. Is going to be epic.
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Old 07-14-2013, 06:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I loved Handwritten. Are you aware Brian Fallon's making a solo record? That. Is going to be epic.
I heard that alright. He made an album with his guitar tech a couple of years ago under the name The Horrible Crowes, heard a few songs off it and it's more acoustic-based stuff.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I saw The Gaslight Anthem at Bonnaroo in 2010 and had never heard of them before that; they were pretty good, they sound just like Bruce
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I saw The Gaslight Anthem at Bonnaroo in 2010 and had never heard of them before that; they were pretty good, they sound just like Bruce
My brother also saw them too at Bonnaroo. I wish I could've gone.
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