Gaslight Anthem’s sophomore album “The ‘59 Sound” came roaring out of the Jersey Shore this summer as if they were “sprung from cages out on Hwy 9″. If you did not know any better i could tell you that the lead singer was the bastard child of the boss himself Bruce Springsteen and all you would say is well that makes a lot of sense now i understand why they write similar songs and sing like each other. To classify them as strictly a rip off band though is a misconception. Similar … yes, but hardly a rip off.
The band is a four piece with Brian Fallon handling guitar/vocal duties, Alex Levine on bass, Benny Horowitz on drums, and Alex Rosamila on guitar. As you have probably already guessed they are from Jersey and draw from the bustling Hardcore punk movement that has been prominent over the past several years as well as the Godfather of all things Jersey Bruce Springsteen. A little folky, a spice of punk rock, and some good old fashioned rock seem to be the recipe they strive for here. They never go too far to any of the extremes. Just when you think they take punk rock to the verge of emo they come right back at you with soulful rock that can’t be denied. I’m impressed by the crispness and flow of the album. The songs never linger too long which is good for a band like this. They are writing bar rock songs that get their point across in three to four minutes. There sound seems to feel like it would be at home in your local bar down the road, but they hint at having greater ambitions to take on arena rock anthems in the future with their sound as well.
The songs are about coming of age in the tough times we all face currently, falling in and out of love, and living for the moment. Many are stand outs but for me the album finishes strong with the run from “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”, “Meet me by the Rivers Edge”,”Here’s Looking at you Kid”, and The “Backseat”. Not to be missed earlier in the album though are the expertly composed title cut and “Miles Davis & the Cool”. My favorite track being “Even Cowgirls get the Blues” which unfortunately is not a song based on the brilliant Tom Robbins book, but is still a very good tune nonetheless.
This album garnished a lot of praise this year and it is deservedly so. It is an easy listen that is catchy enough to jump out at you. I wish i got this album in the summer when it came out. I can see how this is a spring or summer album to blast on your way down the shore or to the boardwalk. Many may scoff at the comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and write them off as an unoriginal new band. Indeed they have a lot of ground to cover to be considered on the same level as the Boss, but I’m willing to give them a shot and see where they go after this. I would recommend this album to fans of another often compared to Bruce band the Killers.
I’l rate this one a 3.25 out of 5 stars. I would go ahead and give it the 3.5 but the slight lack of orginality bumps them down a little. That said i kept waiting for a Derek Jeter or Yankees reference and I might have been forced to give up the 3.5 ranking! This album was a pleasant surprise that came out of nowhere for me this year.
3.25 Stars out of 5
Here they are ealier this month doing the title cut from their album on Conan:
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