Very few things worth mentioning come out of New Jersey. There is…well…uh…yeah, seems to be escaping my mind. When the thought of allowing something out of NJ to touch my ears was presented I was doubtful, very doubtful. Then, I discovered American Slang the third studio installment for The Gaslight Anthem.
Now, I’ll be honest, I had listened to The Gaslight Anthem when I came across them, but never made an effort to seek them out. Was it that there are just too many Punk bands out there? Was it they’re from New Jersey? Was it global warming? I’m not sure, but I’m leaning towards New Jersey. So when this album came up for review I had my reservations. As a matter of fact I believe my response was “Meh…we’ll give it a go.” It had been almost two years since they released the ’59 Sound. Riding the late success of that album, the band teamed up, again with Ted Hutt to produce the latest release. If it isn’t broke, why fix it? Right?
In the beginning, I couldn’t shake associating lead singer Brian Fallon’s vocals with Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys, but less angry yelling. I was hesitant diving into yet another gumbly rock vocal, angry punk band. To my surprise, they’re also musically talented. It took a whole of about 3 songs for me to forget about any association. After Bring It On I was just riding the wave of American Slang.
By the time I finished the first run of the album, as with all albums, I needed to give it another 2-3 listens. Like a kid getting a Wii for Christmas, I was pumped to find this new found gem. Track after track I rocked out. On the second go around I was jamming a little less, but the enthusiasm was still alive. And as with that new game system, I found it would not satisfy my longing for the real world or friends. I’m going to hang on to this in case I feel like coming back, however, I can’t see myself purposely looking for it in my library. Reluctant as I was to have a go at it, not bad. I encourage you to give it a once through. Coming in at barely over 34 minutes, I can’t say it has me singing its epicness. There is something here, right now it eludes me – I’ll give it another listen in a few years.
American Slang is a solid grab. Perhaps too refined, maybe a little over produced for the anguishing lyrics and genre they are striving for. It does walk a very fine line for a Punk Rock album; it never felt completely over the top. Have a listen, tell me I’m wrong…or right.