Spun: The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem clearly owes a debt to Bruce Springsteen. Maybe it’s because they grew up in the Boss’ backyard, but his influence is all over their latest effort, The ’59 Sound, demonstrating that a little respect for your musical elders is never a bad thing.

2007’s Sink or Swim could easily have been the group’s breakthrough record based on song quality alone, The ’59 Sound has a lot more polish, with simultaneously slick and old-fashioned production, not to mention the songs are just as good.

The album starts on a high note, with three of its strongest tracks. On “Great Expectations,” singer Brian Fallon– who even sounds like the Boss– manages to make the line “Everybody leaves, so why, why wouldn’t you?” sound triumphant, highlighting the band’s aptitude for catchy choruses, as well as their lyric’s ability to evoke a certain melancholy feeling without actually being sad.

When they move away from their signature sound into rockabilly and country, like on “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues,” the album loses a lot of energy, but thankfully, “Casanova, Baby!” and “Miles Davis and The Cool” redeem the middle of the album and the latter is a nice tribute to another musical great. “The Backseat” is a quality closing track, the choruses culminating in the perfectly modest line, “In the backseat, we’re just trying to find some room for our knees.”

Perhaps the most important thing that the Gaslight Anthem learned from the Boss was how to write authentic songs. The band never come across as anything but four hard-working guys from New Jersey and their lack of posturing is what elevates The ’59 Sound from the status of a good album to a great one.

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