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4.3 out of 5 stars
American Slang
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2011
There's a lot of nonsense being written about this album. I was initially put off buying it after reading the 'official' review on this Amazon page. But I needn't have worried...

Basically, this album is exactly the same as the previous two. So if you liked those (which I really, really do) you will definitely like this one. That may sound harsh but I don't mean it in a bad way. Let's face it, most bands/artists sound basically the same from album to album - which is why their fans love them! (Yes, I know there are exceptions...)

I really like this band - one of my favourite new bands of the last 5 years or so. Their sound is familiar, not musically inventive or original, but it's definitely their own - and that's a hard thing to achieve.

There are subtle differences between the three albums but they are, at heart, all pretty much the same. And that's cool. What, did you want then to go all AOR or Jazz-Fusion on us? Thought not. And if it ain't broke...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2010
'American Slang' is the album that perhaps demostrates best how The Gaslight Anthem has come into it's own- encompassing a much more layered rock sound than the post-punk musings of early album 'Sink or Swim', there is a maturity and a confidence to the record that demosntrates how comfortably they have engineered their own sound. There are shades of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in many of the tracks- "The Diamond Church Street Choir" and "The Queen of Lower Chelsea" in particular, as well as the heavy Springsteen influence we have come to expect though manifested in a very different way from the angsty strains of the latter half of 'The '59 Sound'. 'American Slang' is triumphant, concerned with looking at youth in a much more celebratory, retrospective fashion that first appeared on the EP 'Senor and the Queen' but without losing the grit and the soul that sets them apart from other bands of their genre. Fallons lyrics again are poetry; an epic of "faithless factories" and "sons of regret", and the guitar work seems to have been tailored to fit the quintessential American backdrop in a more mellow fashion. Some tracks stand out; the titular 'American Slang' perhaps not being the song that most listeners take away from the album- "Boxer" and "Spirit of Jazz" are a harkening back to the days of "Wooderson" on 'Sink or Swim'; full of soul and vehemence but much more musically mature, the heart-rending "We Did it When We Were Young" a fitting tribute to "The Backseat" or "Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts". The Gaslight Anthem have created that rare thing in music; rock as inspired as it is honest. Since the early days of Fallon's bands like 'This Charming Man' and 'The Cincinatti Rail Tie' this album has been in the making, and has frankly come to fruition in a magnificent fashion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 31 August 2010
I remember listening to The '59 Sound when browsing the internet back in 2008. I thought it was an okay sounding album, one that I listened to a couple of times, but was never wowed enough to want to buy it.

I spotted American Slang in a list of new releases on Napster though, and so I figured I'd have a listen to see how they've come on in the last couple of years. I think we're all in agreement that the album is very short, so I won't dwell too much on that. I listened to the album whilst packing boxes ready to move house, and for me, it sounded brilliant. Over the next few days I listened to it several times, each time sounding as good - so I decided I should buy it.

There are several songs that I think are particularly good, my favourite being The Diamond Church Street Choir - it sounds good and I enjoy it every time it comes on. My 2 year old daughter singing along in the back of the car also adds to the enjoyment. My other favourites include; the title track, American Slang;Stay Lucky, an upbeat track sounding like a mix of Springsteen and The Clash; Old Haunts, a very Tom Petty sounding track; and The Spirit of Jazz, which I would say was a mix of Tom Petty and The Clash.

When comparing the sound of each track to some of the greats in the genre is not intended as a bad thing - I like all of those mentioned, and that The Gaslight Anthem can produce tracks sounding so great is a good thing. I would recommend this album. It's great to listen to - I only wish it was longer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Gaslight Anthem is a band standing on the launch pad about to take off towards stadium status. Some bands carve a specialist niche (ranging from acts as diverse as Interpol, Low Anthem or the Felice Brothers) their music is brilliant but is set in a context that will have an appeal that will lead to just about selling out a couple of nights in the Hammersmith Apollo. Others have that everyman appeal. They are the U2's of the world. You dad likes them, your sister's quite keen, their albums go into the "trolley" on the Friday "shop" and while your not a fan if someone offered you a concert ticket you wouldn't turn it down. Mass appeal however is no guarantee of quality. U2 have traded on a back catalogue where for every brilliant "Actung Baby" there are many more albums which generate as much excitement as drawing New Zealand in a your workplace football world cup sweepstakes.

Gaslight Anthem are at an early stage of their career and are currently about as hot as a picnic in death valley but I suspect that if they are around in 10 years time you worry that there old-school rock 'n' roll lyricism and riff based anthems will have worn very thin indeed and feel extremely dated. Its not that "American Slang" is a bad album, it is generally good and in some parts excellent (although what Allen Jones has been drinking in his salivating and "over the top" Uncut review is a mystery). The cover for example tells you what to expect and is a pitch for rock classicism. Its blue collar, pictures the Brooklyn bridge, has iconic turnpike signs and with its title it pitches firmly on that campsite with the tent "Springsteen" marked out on it. But to be fair the bands musical links to the "Boss" are generally overcooked (unlike the lyrical links). Springsteen's third album was of course "Born to Run" but the influences on American Slang seem more derived from bands like Thin Lizzy, the Clash, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Hold Steady, while "Stay lucky" could have happily fitted on the Killers "Sam's Town"

The problem is that "American Slang" like the Hold Steady's recent offering "Heaven Is Whenever" is stuck in a groove of what can only be described as "riffs, cars and girls", yet unlike the bands previous offering the truly excellent "59 Sound" the songs on this album generally fail to engage and there is nothing on here quite as exhilarating as "We came to dance" from "Sink or Swim" or the title track from "59 Sound" or "Old White Lincoln". Indeed for those with longer memories storming bands like Graham Parker and the Rumour, the Replacements or Southside Johnny and the Ashbury Jukes could teach the Gaslight Anthem a thing or two about infusing all the po faced righteous bombast of this album with some real joyous energy. Frankly it has been done before and after repeated listens the passionate clichés and riffs of some of the songs all appear to merge into one. The differences for example between "Orphans" and "the Spirit of Jazz" seem minimal, indeed you wonder why the band don't break this up occasionally with an acoustic number (again the stripped back version of 59 sound works wonderfully). Similarly the lyrics frankly do owe a huge debt to the "punch the sky and pray to Bruce" school of thought; thus the album is littered with sub "Greetings from Asbury Park" references like "your name tattooed inside my arm", "My Queen of the Bronx, blue eyes and spitfires", "Romeo's up town" and various "diamond Sinatra's" and "the alphabet boys".

There are some songs on here which breakaway from this mould and they are generally the best. "Old haunts" plays much more to that indie rock that Spoon does so well. "The Diamond Street choir" is sort of Wild, Innocent and E Street Shuffle meets Dancing in the Moonlight but is a very effective pop song. "The Queens of Lower Chelsea" is the albums highlight and draws on a clear Clash influence and is excellent. The closer "We did when we were young" also points to new directions with a slow burning ballad which builds to an impressive crescendo. There is little doubt that "American Slang" will sell in hugely impressive volumes. The Gaslight Anthem will also probably one day headline Glastonbury and regularly fill the O2 arena as concert favourites but despite all this it does not make this record quite the great epic that it so dearly desires and wants to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2010
This is GA's 3rd full album.It's very good, but not as good as their second.

If you follow the Springsteen progression, this is the more controlled and honed (mature?) Darkness at the Edge of Town version of GA compared to The 59 Sound's 'The Wild, the Innocent' or even 'Born to Run'. There is less rage, dynamism and energy in this collection, less spontaneity. It is altogether more thoughtful, premeditated and sparer sounding. It is intended to be a hit record, and while it doesn't hit the same highs, it has very few lows. I like every track; I loved every track on 59, and loved a few more on Sink (their debut). I don't love any of these - perhaps I will, especially after hearing them performed live. I only appreciated Darkness after seeing the Boss perform those spare songs live in 1979.

For the uninitiated, this is power-punk at it's best. Great songwriting, band performances, quality production. I'd like a bit more looseness, fire, unpredictability in future. But this pretty much hits the spot, perhaps too solidly.

See them in London in October - it will be their last tour before going into stadiums.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I have to admit I am a huge fan of The Gaslight Anthem and was eagerly awaiting `American Slang' and I am glad to say I haven't been left disappointed. Like their previous album `59 Sound' this has lots of short, catchy tracks, that seem to rush in, slap a big smile on your face and then run out again. This is good old fashioned rock n roll with a slight punk edge that doesn't try to be too complicated, but which manages to delight from one track to the next. This still has plenty of Springsteen influences evident throughout, which is no bad thing, and `The Diamond Street Church Choir' felt the most Springsteen-esque to me. They have been accused of being derivative, but they are just one of a long line of Jersey bands who's sound is fairly similar and if you enjoy that sound then this will right up your street. This is a relatively short album, being around 35 minutes, but it is well crafted and whilst I may prefer `59 Sound' just a touch more, this is still a great addition to their catalogue and should please new and existing fans.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2010
with each album they release its clear that they are becoming far more 'polished' but is this a good thing or not? I suppose its inevitable that the more successful they become, and therefore the more money they have to spend, that they look to move on to bigger and supposedly better things in terms of production quality but in doing so they seem to be sacrificing the very thing that appealled most when they first appeared on the scene - an almost gritty and certainly a raw edge to both the music itself and the outstanding vocals.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good album and its certainly getting a lot of play time in our house but will I still be listening to it in 6 months time? I'm not so sure, only time will tell.

Going to see them later in the year and from what I've heard so far I have 'great expectations' and truely believe that when it comes to GA less is very definitely more, get away from the big studio's lads and get back to doing what you do best
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2011
The gaslight anthem, I discovered after seeing them perform with Bruce Springsteen at Glastonbury 2009 (and he is obviously a big influence of theirs). Since then I have falen in love with their rock/country punk/romantic American vibe; it isn't completely original, but its still beautiful, exciting music. The principal has already been established, yes, but its the youth of the band that gives them the edge, Fallon's crooning vocals and the memorable, swinging tunes explore the feeling of trapped little American suburbs and also the dream of being free in America, remeniscent of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'. Bands like Gaslight Anthem restore my faith in the American music scene, a great third album this is, from a great up and coming band; just don't expect it to be something you haven't ever heard before!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2010
The stick they've received for repeating the same tricks they played on The '59 Sound is to a degree justified. But isn't all rock music the sum of it's influences? This isn't remotely original. It is however awfully good fun. Short and to the point this handful of tracks are all under 4 minutes long, all have simple memorable chiming riffs and chest beating choruses. American Slang, Old Haunts, The Diamond Church Street Choir, Boxer, Stay Lucky are all designed to be hollered along to, and to do so would be a pleasure. Only the misguided final track feels forced. We Did When We Were Young is not half as emotive and cathartic as it thinks it is (or as The '59 Sound's closing track The Backseat was) and kind of ruins the bluster, only kind of though.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2010
There is a certain mystique about what it is to be American. In the land of the free, the home of the brave, there is an overriding ideal that anybody can be a somebody. On the flipside, there is a chequered history framed by slavery and war, and there are the outsiders - the beatniks that reject the path most trodden by taking to the open road, the disenfranchised that, with wit and anger, inhabit the cracks in the American dream.

On American Slang, The Gaslight Anthem distil both histories with intensely redemptive commentaries coloured only by contemporary disaffection, and, along with the like-minded Hold Steady, they remain an indefatigable embodiment of that fractured dream.

Having been nurtured by the pounding rains which wash the Jersey streets (most specifically those that intersect at E and 10th), the 10 concise tracks that comprise American Slang could not be truer to the band's roots. Nevertheless, in roaming freely from Bob Dylan to Motown, and again via Joe Strummer and The Replacements, American Slang has everything and nothing to do with today's America.

Its predecessor, the superlative and chest-beatingly honest '59 Sound, literally lived the dream of yesteryear with its tales of roaring cars, streams of girls, body modification, and 20th century hoisting of high-top icons. Yet, under walls of hooks and melodies it bubbled with punk-rock ambivalence - a product of the conflicting emotions felt by generations of Americans.

In this sense, American Slang is the most realistic of The Gaslight Anthem catalogue to date. Its blue-collar delivery is representative of America today, and it comes tempered by the band's ear for hooks, those that chime out in the tattoo-referencing title track prove it, but gone are the absolute anthems of `59. Inevitably, the result is less pretty, less immediate, but rarely less powerful.

What appears on a first listen as little more than acceptable festival-rock by numbers slowly reveals itself to have subtle depths with repeated plays. "Orphans" and "Boxer" lead the charge, hitting the highway fast and clean, but they do so in cruise control rather than with raw hot-rod passion. The classic rock riffs that introduce and close "Old Haunts" nudge American Slang away from the band's punk roots and bookend vocalist Brian Fallon's most raspingly emotive contribution in the process. It's a riff-heavy theme continued into the raucous sound of "The Spirit of Jazz", a track which Fallon treats to his best mumbling borrowed direct from The Boss.

Yet, "Stay Lucky", although complementary, is essentially a weaker retread of The Killers' "When You Were Young". The finger-click percussion and MOR smoothness of "The Diamond Street Choir" lack the urgency and excitement that The '59 Sound nailed. The down-tempo jauntiness of "The Queen Of Lower Chelsea" lap towards the much-quoted Clash influence, but do so largely in indifference.

At American Slang's close, with "We Did It When We Were Young", the anthemic quality missing since '59 reappears but under a very different guise. With Fallon's vocal cracking and echoing, and with guitars set to painstaking slow-build, the final minute blowout is a direct call to get out the lighters.

Rather than the following in the footsteps of the raw debut, or the more polished '59 Sound, American Slang takes small steps forward, and, it must be said, some back. Though, in moving forward, The Gaslight Anthem have aged and evolved with their nation, shifting indeed like slang on the lips of the youth that Fallon so frequently invokes.

More importantly, again in moving forward, the band are quietly becoming as iconic an American institution as their immediate influences have become. One more giant leap and it'll be confirmed, but if they're not careful, complacency may yet allow The Gaslight Anthem's increasingly safe middle-class rock to take too much of an edge off their working-class appeal.
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