American Slang Review

artist: The Gaslight Anthem date: 04/13/2011 category: compact discs
The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang
Released: Jun 14, 2010
Genre: Rock
Label: SideOneDummy
Number Of Tracks: 10
The Gaslight Anthem get off to a false start on the promising new road that's been laid out in front of them.
 Sound: 8.7
 Lyrics: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 8.3
 Overall rating:
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reviews (6) 25 comments vote for this album:
overall: 6.7
American Slang Reviewed by: UG Team, on july 02, 2010
6 of 16 people found this review helpful

Sound: When you look at some of the really massive rock bands of decades gone by, particularly ones who've produced hit after hit with the exact same formula, you have to wonder how they get away with it. AC/DC, Kiss, even Metallica, to an extent...all these bands get by on a simple chemistry that defies logical explanation but fills stadiums to this very day. Whether or not The Gaslight Anthem will reach that level of stardom remains to be seen, but they've certainly got that feel about them. Listening to their last two efforts is like listening to audio nostalgia, whether you were there for the real '59 sound' or not; you've heard all these songs hundreds of times before but still you remain compelled by the synergy. Funnily enough, Gaslight are not ones to repeat themselves too much. With their new level of commercial recognition - not half thanks to Bruce Springsteen joining them on stage at Glastonbury last year to play their own song - they could have easily rewritten Great Expectations' ten times over and called it a record, but American Slang' does its own thing. Solid rock n roll rhythms are used as foundations for Alex Rosamilia's soulful, lick-based accompaniment to the vocal, the kingpin. It's not as punky as Sink Or Swim' (condolences to all you die-hards), but rather than being bogged down by the all-American coolness, as The '59 Sound' was at times, this one retains the same voice through many vibrant changes in mood the album is constructed more like a mosaic than an unbroken stream of creativity; a mosaic where the title track acts as one of the lighter pieces of the puzzle and the closer, We Did It When We Were Young', sums up the contrasting dark. // 7

Lyrics: A girl sitting in an old Mustang, listening to The Clash and smoking cigarettes in a parking lot on an early New Jersey evening - I think you probably know the drill for these guys. Part of this band's charm is in the lyrics, and the way in which even the most estranged listener can feel somehow at home with these well-sung stories, though I'm sure we have Americanisation to thank for that. Lots of these streets' and those times', the Gaslight hallmarks that will probably grow stale eventually, although Brian Fallon seems to have recognised this, and writes about it in Old Haunts Don't sing me your songs about the good times/Those days are gone and you should just let them go. It's nice to see him being proactive, but there's life in these old dogs yet. At least Fallon never seems anything short of genuine; a songwriter who can say what he means without alienating what is now a pretty large audience. // 7

Overall Impression: It seems unlikely that this will be a hit factory. It is sadly lacking in huge choruses and suffers a little for it. I have a theory, subject to change depending on their performances, that songs from American Slang' may act as comfortable buffers during live sets, between the really big numbers that people have bought tickets for. This is a perfectly good listen from a perfectly good band, but if we're talking impact then it's not much of an event, more of an intermission, albeit one with... refreshments. I wouldn't deny their chances of making one in the future, but American Slang' won't be one of those records' that kids will be singing about in 2045. // 6

- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2010

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overall: 9.3
American Slang Reviewed by: Bozjoarmstrong, on july 02, 2010
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Sound: As clichd as it sounds, The Gaslight Anthem's new record presents a far more mature sound for this young band. The drumming is tighter, the bass is thicker and the guitars pack more punch than ever before. All this becomes apparent in album opener and title track, American Slang'. The building drums and the muted guitars make for a great opening 15 seconds to the album before the track explodes into a joyous, pounding anthem which provides a perfect platform for the rest of the album to built on. The next track, Stay Lucky' is a more rapid delivery of the nostalgic joy felt throughout the album, before track 3, Bring It On', arguably the least impressive song here. Whilst this song does provide an alternative to the more up-tempo songs such as Stay Lucky' or Orphans' it does generally feel like a less impressive version of the title track. The Diamond Church Street Choir' features more jazzy guitars whilst remaining true to familiar rocky Gaslight Anthem sound. This, in combination with the unforgettable chorus makes this song a real stand-out track on the album. The Queen of Lower Chelsea' provides a more down-tempo style far more successfully than Bring It On' with excellent understated drumming and muted and finger-picked guitars which allow the vocal melody to shine through. The next two tracks, Orphans' and Boxer' are two of the more upbeat, punk-styled efforts on the album and for me are real highlights. Boxer' is a particularly interesting song, featuring Brian Fallon's crunchy distorted rhythm guitar beneath Alex Rosamilia's clean lead. I was initially apprehensive about this sound, but it's a real grower, especially considering this is some of Rosamilia's best guitar work to date. 'Old Haunts' sees drummer Ben Horowitz experimenting with more complex rhythms to great effect, preventing this track from simply fading into the rest. The Spirit of Jazz' is one of the more questionable song titles here, but the song is good enough to merit any name it desires, featuring more excellent individual work from each band member and another unforgettable chorus. Album closer We Did It When We Were Young' is a tear-jerking ballad to youth, muted rhythm and beautiful lead guitar lines help to make this song one of the band's most accomplished to date. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics to this album are nothing short of incredible. Singer and guitarist Brian Fallon leaves you hanging on his every word with his raw, impassioned poetry matched brilliantly with the pure expressive power of his voice. The lyrical content mostly revolves around the theme of growing up or moving on, shown explicitly through We Did It When We Were Young' in which Fallon almost mourns the passing of his youth, I don't remember the good times, I wasn't there when you were kind'. This to an extent contrasts with the lyrical content of songs such as Old Haunts' in which Fallon appears to be forcing himself to move on, God help the man who says If you'd have known me when Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts'. At other times, the lyrics simply beg of you to sing along to them such as the choruses in The Diamond Church Street Choir' and The Spirit of Jazz' as well as at least the opening few seconds of 'Boxer'. Overall, the lyrics comply perfectly with the music and with Fallon's distinctive, incredible voice, conveying the nostalgic joy you cannot help but feel when listening to this album. // 10

Overall Impression: One comparison it always seemed The Gaslight Anthem would never be able to escape was that of Bruce Springsteen, both artists hail from New Jersey and both create rousing rock anthems. However, on American Slang, The Gaslight Anthem seem to politely step away from that comparison in an attempt to find a sound of their own. This, for the most part, is very successful, and I feel that in one or two years time, this band will have their very own complete (and no doubt fantastic) sound. After the near-perfect The '59 Sound, it would be wrong to say that this is The Gaslight Anthem's best album, but it would definitely be fair to say that for the third successive time The Gaslight Anthem have created one of the best albums I have heard in a long, long time. // 9

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overall: 8.3
American Slang Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 02, 2010
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: With no irony, no superiority and no bitterness in sight, it seems The Gaslight Anthem is intent on bringing a heart back to rock and roll. American Slang' is the New Jersey based outfits third full length record and coming off the back of their second and breakthrough record, 2008's The 59' Sound', there is considerable expectations. So for this third record what's new? Well, the power chords are gone. The one- two combo that greeted you on the first two tracks on the 59' sound are gone. From the start this is an all round tighter, daring and, dare one say, a more mature sounding effort. Immediately, Brian Fallon and company are letting you know what you're here for, In the title track and the records opening a gradual build up met with a storming lead guitar line reminiscent of Tom Petty's American Girl' yet with a prickly intent. The striking element to the record that is instantly recognisable is the unleashing of Alex Rosamilia's lead and the freedom he has over the subtle rhythm of the early tracks. Stay Lucky', American Slang's twist on The 59' Sound', is a prime example, staying at a vehement pace while Fallon's vocals continue to break and grind out wistful misgivings, Rosamilia breathes a fresh life into the track that prevents it from falling under the category of any other pop punk sing-along.The band claiming that London Calling' and its grandeur and exploration was the chief principle is by no means a miss-step, The Queen Of Lower Chelsea' and It's measured riff maybe taps more directly to Straight To Hell' than anything from London Calling' but It's what makes The Gaslight Anthem the most interesting band working today, nowhere else could you find these influences so precisely entwined and presented as pitch perfect pop-punk music. The records middle order, while maybe not being as stand out or instantly memorable as The 59' Sound', is in keeping with the themes of American Slang', it makes you work to appreciate the intricacies of the sequencing, the licks and the blues rhythms that lay below each energetic vocal. // 8

Lyrics: The 59' Sound was a uplifting and nostalgic tale fitting around lost loves, broken dreams and late night carnivals back dropped by the young and reckless living on the boardwalks of New Jersey, a more feverish and faster salutation to Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle' if you will. The title track and the records opening Fallon sings how they cut me to ribbons and taught me to drive/ I got your name tattooed inside of my arm' and in that lamentation lies arguably the greatest chorus the band have ever written. It's a different kind of writing also that gallantly strays from the comfort of their previous records, On The Diamond Church Street Choir' Fallon eases into the pace with finger clicks while the tempo doesn't stray too far from jimmy jazz' by The Clash, It's when the record first announces a radical departure from what they know and love, Fallons voice rises and rises and It's soul, pure soul and once again the chorus is so perfectly carved It's impossible not to fall head over heels for it. Bring It On' reaches the same heights and is an undoubted Highlight In its achievement of containing the lyric So give me the fevers that just won't break/And give me the children you don't want to raise' Fallon's most personal and poignant lyric yet and a chorus so bursting with vigour and repressed anger you can feel Fallon's throat throbbing with agony as he howls if he's better than my love/ then go on and take it all' The records middle order, while maybe not being as stand out or instantly memorable as The 59' Sound', is in keeping with the themes of American Slang', it makes you work to appreciate the intricacies of the sequencing, the licks and the blues rhythms that lay below each energetic vocal. The Spirit of Jazz' and Old Haunts' are far from formulaic and in their choruses begin to unveil the final themes of abandonment and distance that the Record Finishes with. We Did It When We Where Young' a slow building tempo with Fallon's rattling vocal, seemingly dented and broken from the previous ten tracks, mourning a life that's past him by, I missed you for so long' and conversely to the nostalgia that occasionally threatens to engulf the record he tires of remembering and simply wants to move on, a move that the band has bravely taken, which in turn makes it a fitting as a finale. // 9

Overall Impression: With no irony, no superiority and no bitterness in sight, it seems The Gaslight Anthem is intent on bringing a heart back to rock and roll. The Springsteen comparisons have become lazy and rightly so as Orphans' and Boxer' so resent the mindless labelling, these tales of memories and loss of faith may play to the same blue collar ties of The River' but It's the melodies that separate them from anything on that record or anything contemporary for that matter, It's bristling with soul and a likeability factor every band would sell their soul for. With tales of woe to nod along to, tales of youth to reflect to and tales of love to sing to, The Gaslight Anthem have indeed restored heart and faith in modern rock music. // 8

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overall: 8.7
American Slang Reviewed by: ¡VivaLaGeorge!, on july 02, 2010
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 10
American Slang Reviewed by: djoakey, on august 06, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is turning in to my favourite album now. The sound is unique, a sound that no one else seems to master. The brilliant crossover of soul-punk is just phenomonal in the case of The Gaslight Anthem. After listening to this album you will wonder why they haven't had a huge recognition. Brian Fallon's (lead singer) voice echoes back to The Boss (Springsteen) and they use it to great effect. The guitar are dirty and distorted, keeping the whole sound relatively simple, and in this case, less is really more, with the rare usage of effects. And a great drummer really does help tie this band together, with a tight rhythm section. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics tell stories. And when brian sings them, you can see his is singing it from the heart, putting his all into whatever he is singing about, because these songs quite obviously have personal meaning to them. Some songs maybe telling the stories of a troubled childhood, some telling the stories of people that have come and gone, but there will be one song on here which you can relate too, and you will gain a personal meaning to the song aswell. // 10

Overall Impression: This album is on my top shelf. Nothing else quite compares to this. I bought this album having heard one or two good reviews, and I'm so glad I did. It is just an overall great rock album. It differs from there first album, showing a mellower side on songs like "The Queen of Lower Chelsea" and my personal favourite "The Diamond Church Street Choir". But there a songs in there for older fans aswell, keeping there authentic "'59 sound" sound on songs like "American Slang" and "The Spirit of Jazz" The lead guitarist provides slick melodies while the rhythm keeps things tight with open string chords and the usage of barre chords. The bassist and the drummer keep tight providing a solid basis for Brian and co. to really let loose their creative side and let the spine tingling vocals do the rest. There is not much more I can say, other than buy this album and see for yourself.:) // 10

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overall: 9.3
American Slang Reviewed by: alexander_MCR, on april 13, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: New Jersey's new and upcoming rock legends (At the way their going), The Gaslight Anthem, release album number 3. TGA's sound is quite recognizable, what with 'the Bruce Springsteen sound' but anyone who writes them off as that misses out. A beautiful, seductive orchestra is what I would compare TGA to: From Brian Fallon's rough yet echoing voice, to Benny Horowitz's drumming which still has that jazz/blues/folk/styles but its much more defined. Same goes to guitarist Alex Rosamilia and bassist Alex Levine. // 10

Lyrics: The band have put together a heart-warming album each 10 songs has it's strong lyrics, dealing with; depression, loneliness ("The Queen Of Lower Chelsea") love, breakups,("American Slang, Bring It On.") innocence, the idea of youth and growing old,("Star Lucky", "When We Were Young") and everyday struggle to survive. ("Boxer.") If you've heard the previous two outings; 07's "Sink Or Swim' and 08's "The 59' Sound" then you'll be very familiar with what the band are about. If you're just getting into them, then this is the perfect place to start. If you're a fan you will love this. // 9

Overall Impression: However, they may never top The 59' Sound, American Slang is still a fantastic album. Stand out tracks: Star Lucky. Orphans. The Queen Of Lower Chelsea. American Slang. When We Were Young. Perhaps it will be more of the same for The Gaslight Anthem on album number 4, but for now this is brilliant. Quick side note: They sound great on album and even better live! // 9

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