The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang

Music Reviews The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem: American Slang

All-American foursome leaves sentimentality at the door

These Jersey boys earned an official Bruce Badge last year when Springsteen joined them onstage at a handful of European festivals, and if you achieve such a thing, it’s probably best to not go jerking around with your formula. True to form, this brisk, exhaust-scented third album makes an ambitious return to the Boss’ scenic Friday night carnival for a familiar but still-mighty wallop of muscular, crying riffs and good old-fashioned restlessness. “Stay Lucky” and “Bring It On” are cut straight from the band’s oil-stained cloth, but they nail the occasional detours as well, especially the left-field finger-snapper “The Diamond Street Church Choir.” Still, singer/anthem-writing wizard/mechanic t-shirt aficionado Brian Fallon is grizzled and sharp enough to know nostalgia is only worth it for so long: The takedown “Old Haunts” finds him spitting: “God help the man who says, “If you’d have known me when …’ ” Summer-night simmer, frozen in time—what else do you need?

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