The Gaslight Anthem
The ’59 Sound
19 August 2008
by Graham Drummond
Like an eccentric Mighty Boosh character, there are some who believe that punk and rock ‘n’ roll cannot be joined in holy matrimony, that the two genres cannot cohabit.
Hailing from New Jersey, leather jacket and flat-cap clad four-piece The Gaslight Anthem combine both with skill with undeniable conviction.
Their new record The ’59 Sound is as much influenced by Springsteen as it is The Clash, but with deeply personal lyrics, swaggering guitars and a big ol’ heart, the marriage of styles might be the last thing on the listener’s mind.
Opener ‘Great Expectations’ sets the tone with driving bass and carefully plucked guitar, support from subtle beats and Brian Fallon’s honest, echoing lyrics. Fallon’s voice carries a deliciously rough edge that enhances the delivery of his delicate tales without ever sounding remotely slushy.
With its story of bereavement and anthemic, lifting chorus, title track ‘The ’59 Sound’ gives goosebumps via nostalgic, old fashioned rock and roll.
‘Film Noir’ begins with bluesy guitars before switching to bouncy punk fare a la Social Distortion, while ‘The Patient Ferris Wheel’ ups the pace and adds group vocals to the mixture.
Watch the video to ‘Drive’ by The Gaslight Anthem
Equally at home with slow-burning compositions, ‘Here’s Looking at you Kid’ represents some of the finest The Gaslight Anthem has to offer here, a poignant dedication to those who traveled a different path.
‘The Backseat’ is another highlight, rounding off the proceedings with staggered drums and flavoursome hints of fellow Jersey punkers Bouncing Souls.
A perfect marriage then? Not completely, the twelve tracks sometimes lack variety and there will be moments when you’ll cry out for the guitars to be louder. It’s a record focused so much on storytelling that the actual music can be drowned out at times.
Minor niggles aside though, The Gaslight Anthem have constructed a glorious relationship that is echoed through just about every sweet second of The ’59 Sound.
The ’59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem is released on 18 August 2008 on SideOneDummy Records