Sound — 8
After the fantastic The '59 Sound, The Gaslight Anthem were going to have to dig pretty deep to pull out an album that could be more than just its sequel. The band's obvious Springsteen and jersey shore sound influence is as clear as ever, from the opener American Slang through to the heartfelt ballad We Did It When We Were Young (WDIWWWY). The music of American Slang takes the rawer style of Sink or Swim, and combines it with the recording quality of The '59 Sound, the result being a record that maintains The Gaslight Anthem's root sound, but makes it more enjoyable and accessible. Songs such as Old Haunts and The Queen Of Lower Chelsea touch on new styles and a seemingly "less is more" attitude, but The Gaslight Anthem maintain the connection to their root style with songs like Boxer, Orphans and The Spirit Of Jazz, so old fans can hardly consider that the old sound has perished, but rather been broken up by new stylistic movements being used in songs like The Queen Of Lower Chelsea, where the drums are reduced to rims, the amps are turned off (essentially), and Brian's words take centre stage.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically and vocally, Brian Fallon breaks all his previous boundaries on American Slang, my prime example being a stunning key change in The Diamond Church Street Choir, which always makes the hairs on my arms stand on end. The lyrics are as genial as ever, heartfelt and at sometimes it seems choked with emotion, such as WDIWWWY, from opening line "Don't write me no more letters / My mailbox is full of bombs". People downloading the album from iTunes will also receive the bonus song She Loves You, which is another vocally stirring performance.
Overall Impression — 8
It is arguable that with their third album, some fans may become annoyed as some of the songs seem very much the same as both Sink or Swim and The '59 Sound, and fans can, and potentially will find this to be becoming rather monotonous and repetitive. However, others, such as myself, will lap up this album joyfully as The Gaslight Anthem remain unchanged by the fame that was brought to them by their second full-length album. The Gaslight Anthem never disappoint, and it feels like their Born To Run moment is still yet to come, and when it does, they will be catapulted to the fame level that the brilliant Springsteen himself achieved back in 1975.