The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Posted by Lampard on Tue, 27 Jul 2010.
Here, we are presented with the third album from The Gaslight Anthem, ‘American Slang’. The two previous being debut ‘Sink or Swim’ and follow-up ‘The ’59 Sound’, of which the latter earned the band a list of top musical achievements such as big festival performances, supporting Bruce Springsteen on tour and a generally positive outlook from media and the public.
The Gaslight Anthem portray the typical connotations of an American punk-rock outfit, attempting to following in the previous, successful footsteps of Blink-182, Green Day and Weezer for example. This genre is stereotypically viewed as the music choice for American Skaters. No surprise then that The Gaslight Anthem have had one of their songs signed to two skating video games, Skate 2 and Skate It, taken from ‘The ’59 Sound’.
Now, despite my lack of interest for this genre, I attempted to engage in an unbiased manner. However, after first listen I instantly noticed the distinct lack of variation. It seems that every song blends into one another like one of those annoying dance albums that have no breaks between tracks. Also, whenever a section of a song promises some change, the climax reveals no difference to many of the others. If you were to take a 5 second section from the middle of each song then a lot would sound the same.
Album opener, album title and first release ‘American Slang’ is a slightly better song than some of the others due to the welcome alterations in voice and band tone throughout. However, the next two following songs ‘Star Lucky’ and Bring It On’ discontinue the positives of the first track by entering into this monotonous drone of samey vocals, chords and beats. ‘The Diamond Church Street Choir’ lifts moods back up again with a chirpy, friendly number. An uplifting sensation brought by both the tone and story. Track five, ‘The Queen of Lower Chelsea’ is again quirky and enjoyable and also a personal favourite of mine on the album. ‘Orphans’ to follow, a distinctly average song which is uninteresting and ‘Boxer’ sounds like it could be a soundtrack to an annoying high school film supposedly for ‘cool kids’ or has had some form of influence from Avril Lavigne. ‘Old Haunts’ and ‘The Spirit of Jazz’ can barely be told apart from probably four other songs. Closing track ‘We Did It When We Were Young’ is a much slower, calmer styled song which seems to suit the band very nicely, it’s just a shame they can’t revert to this tone a little more often.
Don’t get me wrong there are fantastic parts to this album, I just fail to see them as a bigger picture when they are overshadowed by the dreary majority. In spite of this I have no doubts in saying that many others will drool over this album in awe and will appeal much more to those who have firmer roots in this field of the music. Doesn’t it go something along the lines of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’?