It's a shame I happened upon The Gaslight Anthem when I did. The New Brunswick NJ outfit's blazing brand of true blue rock and roll would have struck an appropriately monumental tone just three nights prior. Having found myself all but losing my shit in a fantastic, new found feeling of civic pride (along with a delusional pack of hundreds, mind you) at the intersection of Bedford and North 7th in Brooklyn, the only thing missing from such an extraordinary moment was a fitting, cinematic soundtrack blasting, at the very least, in my own head. But, alas, it was in the wake of Tuesday's events, on Wednesday, that I first heard The '59 Sound...which, I suppose will have to do.
Aching like the perfect blend of punk's boisterous, youth-gone-wild ways and the wild-eyed spirit of the Boss, the Gaslight Anthem's second full-length release strikes an oh so American kind of chord over the course of its' twelve, raging tracks. Steady, chugging versus, sing along choruses, massive break downs: Songs like "The Patient Ferris Wheel" and "High Lonesome" hit their stride with an effective, tried and true formula that's just too good to be ignored. For his part, vocalist Brian Fallon digs deep into his gut for this beefy batch of songs. Gnawing his way through underdog tales of blood thirsty women ("Great Expectations"), automobile pileups ("The '59 Sound"), and blue collar upbringings ("Meet Me By the River's Edge"), Fallon pens poetic lyrics that fix their gaze on topics of love and loss in the heartland...err, Jersey anyway.
Yet, for all his discords, Fallon ultimately sows an unequivocally triumphant seed in the belly of The '59 Sound...credit that to his obvious fixation with all things Springsteen. So what is ultimately made to flourish from the underlying source? Hope of course. Sound familiar? - David Pitz