As Anthemic As Their Name Suggests
Never has a nostalgia trip sounded so fresh and original. With more than a touch of their New Jersey roots shining throughout each track, The Gaslight Anthem’s latest album, ‘The 59 Sound’ manages to mesh the storytelling lyricist of Bruce Springsteen with the punk ethos of The Clash whilst simultaneously wielding a hint of Killers melodic charm as they tenderly embrace you into their world and take you on a journey full of torrid tales bathed in heartbreaking raw emotion.
With just the subtle crackle of feedback as a record player’s needle pumps life into the opening track ‘Great Expectations’, The Gaslight Anthem instantly beckons to you, gently inviting you on their nostalgia tinged journey of bustling songs oozing heartache and overflowing with a working class ethos that speaks of the everyman. As singer/guitarist Brian Fallon’s gruff sweet vocals break through, ‘Great Expectations’ rips you by the wrist and hurtles off at break neck speed, erupting in a flurry of vivid storytelling that immediately conjures up images of life in blue collar Jersey. This is a band that speaks from the heart, which sings songs that immediately evoke a deluge of emotion and that will have you torn between sorrow and sheer jubilation as their insatiably upbeat melody entwines itself around Fallon’s emotionally raw voice. As the blast of a jangling guitar collides with an infectious drum beat, title track, ‘The 59 Sound’ sways in with an irresistible fresh explosion of life, brilliantly contrasting with the songs melancholy story, as Fallon’s voice commands your attention, enthusiastically inciting you to sing along with sheer carefree exuberance as the anthemic sound of American rock stakes a claim on every nerve in your body leaving surrender as your only option.
Time machine come dive bar, ‘The 59 Sound’ takes you to a place that time forgot, where guys sit in bars and chat about life, talk about their hopes and dreams and even their pain. Brandishing roaring chords that niftily staples themselves to Fallon’s world weary, passion fuelled voice; ‘Old White Lincoln’ speaks of “high topped sneakers and sailors tattoos” as the Gaslight Anthem recall childhood experiences amid dreams of “classic cars”. A blast of drum beats makes way for the story of Maria from Nashville and dreams of being Elvis (‘High Lonesome’) as another avalanche of irresistible guitars and lyrics beg for your attention while the melancholy of ‘Even Cowgirls Get The Blues’ is bolstered by Fallon’s pain drenched vocals as he sings about still loving Tom Petty songs, injecting a fist full of blues into each line. From this there’s the woeful charm of lost love curtsey of ‘Here’s Looking At You, Kid’ that recalls how “boys will be boys/ And girls have those eyes/That can cut you to ribbons” before a flood of rhythm seeking guitars charge amongst contagious bass and drum beats heralding the entrance of ‘The Backseat’, leaving in their wake a blast of youthful exuberance wrapped in an original rush of nostalgia to leave all exhilarated and brimming with childlike optimism once again.
From tales of wild nights spent with wild girls, to stories about lost love, to the simple reminiscence of living a quintessentially working class life whilst clutching to the American dream, ‘The 59 Sound’ captures it all, delivered with uncompromised honesty. This is the sound of American rock and roll, the sound of ordinary people with emotion drenched tales that come straight from the heart and that will go straight to the heart of everyone that hears them. As anthemic as their name suggests, The Gaslight Anthem offer poignantly evocative songs that will speak to your heart whilst heading instantly to you feet and in ‘The 59 Sound’ they have crafted an album that’s unlikely to ever stray too far from your stereo if indeed it leaves it at all.