Jul 03, 2009

The much-anticipated second full-length album by this New Jersey band. First off, let’s get it out of the way; yeah this band is clearly influenced by GardenState legend, Bruce Springsteen, and are not interested in hiding the fact (even more so than the Hold Steady, if that’s possible). But they focus on the compact, economical songwriting of the Boss more than the self-indulgent soloing, bar band tendencies of the E. Street Band that the Hold Steady revels in. That being said, Gaslight Anthem has really filed off the charming minor rough edges of their debut 2007 album, Sink or Swim for a sound that is radio friendly with a capital R. I don’t think you could really even call this a punk rock record in the context of 2008. There is not a single shitty song on the album, but, by the same token, nothing seems to rise far above mediocrity. If you enjoyed the first record a lot, this is worth picking up, but I am guessing most readers of Razorcake would find the production off putting and the songs too middle-of-the-road classic rock to embrace. I can say I do still recommend this band live (if you can still see them in a reasonably sized venue with their increasing popularity) where the new songs are presented in a much more organic context than an overproduced record. –Jake Shut

 –guest (SideOneDummy)