Sink Or Swim review by The Gaslight Anthem

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: May 29, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (35 votes)
The Gaslight Anthem: Sink Or Swim

Sound — 8
Of all of the albums that have been released this year, this is one of the more interesting and also one of my favorites. Coming from New Bruinswick, New Jersey, the Gaslight Anthem seem to have blasted in from nowhere with this 2007 debut. The music, to me, sounds like a mix between Against Me! and (get this) Bruce Springsteen. The band wears their influences well, but that doesn't stop them from distinguishing themselves from their influences be it through an, at times, second odd sounding guitarist or they're lyrics. As far as the songs themselves go, they are, among other things, hooky, fun to listen to, and it seems like the band is having a blast playing them. Sometimes that's all one can ask for, even if the sound isn't exactly innovative.

Lyrics — 9
Lyrically speaking, it deals with some pretty typical topics. Relationships make an appearance on this record, as seen through songs like "1930" and "The Navesink Banks." However, there are a couple of interesting aspects to their lyrics, such as the allusions to the Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros song, "Coma Girl" in the song, "I'da Called You Woody, Joe," which is a tribute to Strummer as a sort of "thanks for the music" kind of way. Many of the lyrics seem to be fairly optimistic in character such as those about dancing, while those contemplating the more negative aspects of relationships, well, aren't. I happen to like the vocals on the album: they are ragged, rough, and they kind of call for the listener to listen to them. They can wear on the listener after awhile, but luckily that doesn't really seem to bother me.

Overall Impression — 9
I love this album. I love how catchy it is. I've been addicted to this album for quite awhile now. It is strong, and it has me hooked from the opening riffs of "Boomboxes and Dictionaries" and I am saddened once "Red at Night" ends. This band has a lot of potential, and I, for one, am looking forward to more of their work. If it were stolen, I would definitely buy it again (and a couple of t-shirts, too).

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i saw this band play with rise against and alkaline trio in hampton. i hadnt heard of them when i baught the tickets so i borrowed sink or swim...i was amazed. this cd was so good i had to go out and buy the 59 sound. now i can't stop listening to this band...helps that they were amazing live and got the crowd moving
    this is a tip-top album and is so under-rated its untrue , support and check out this band
    great album... very raw before gaslight discovered the old soul influences.. Join my group for gaslight fans!!!