Well, The Gaslight Anthem are back! And after the long awaited release of American Slang, I must say, I’m very impressed! It’s taken me a while to really get into this album, as I was almost expecting something similar to The ’59 Sound, however, after coming to terms with the concept that Brian Fallon no longer wanted to follow the same song structure that was the basis for the majority of the songs on the previous album, I have realised that this is yet another great album from the New Jersey punk rock band.
One review states (of Brian Fallon) that ‘He emerges from American Slang as a man who couldn’t assemble an Ikea bookcase without getting the instructions tattooed on his heart while rememberin’ the good times, before flat-pack furniture took the fire of his youth, when the diamond romeos in the alleyways sang sha-la-la to the uptown queens.’
I believe that this statement is partly true, as Fallon has the ability to make every event into a collage of metaphors and hidden meanings, but I don’t believe it is a bad thing. He has a very thoughtful and complex songwriting technique, but it is refreshing to see something diferent from the straightforward, stereotypical lyrics that dominate today’s Top 100.
Fallon has compared the band’s progression to that of the Clash. The first album, Sink or Swim was a straightforward punk record, the second, The ’59 Sound was much more thoughtful, yet still had the punk rock edge, which set them slightly apart from the obvious Springsteen references. On the other hand, American Slang is much more of a rock record, full of slower songs, and is made up of numerous picked guitar riffs, which connect together to make up the songs, rather than just the chords with occasional melodies over the top that made up the previous two albums. Personally, I think this showcases the band’s talent ,much more clearly, as it proves that they have enough creativity to put forward riff after riff. It also makes the album much more personal to the band. Aswell as choosing to use a songwriting style that Fallon wanted to be ‘much more personal, featuring his own experiences,’ the use of their own riffs really helps to convey the ideas and emotions that inspired this album in the first place.
In my personal opinion, American Slang is a great album, but one which does not strike the listener as being so as quickly as the previous album did. Highlights of the album for are: The Queen Of Lower Chelsea, American Slang, The Diamond Church Street Choir and Boxer.