Monday, September 27, 2010

The Gaslight Anthem - The 59 Sound


There's no mistaking that Jersey sound.  But I have to admit to a derisive snort when I see Wikipedia describe them as a punk band.  (YourZ sez: yeah, what the...?)  This is a band that have their eyes firmly set on stadium rock.  There's very little gabba gabba hey involved here - and while YourZ has drawn my attention to their Clash-y sound, I'm more inclined to say they're a Springsteen/U2 band.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.  Perhaps their sound's a little harder-edged than Bruce, but they lack the element of danger I associate with the punk sound.  I can hear why they're popular but it's a safe, commercial sound.  The sound I associate with record companies counting their cash, which for me is completely against the punk aesthetic.

It's an OK album, just not what I'd choose to rock out with.  I'll take Bruce in original any day.



I brought both The 59 Sound and American Slang after continued listens to some freebie tracks a friend at work had downloading and passed on to me (I think I've said it but I'll say it again - I always pay for music I like).  That this band is from New Jersey and influenced by its most famous son is as obvious as the nose on your face, which makes it all the more odd as to why they are called a punk band.

That aside, there is much to like about The Gaslight Anthem.  Their classicism is as obvious as the previous mentioned appendage but it is also the updated Clash and Strummer-like feel I really enjoy also and maybe this is where the 'punk' logo comes from.  But how ever you take it, the Springsteen sound is the thing that sticks out the most.  In fact, the Man's presence on stage at a number of their shows in England saw The 59 Sound's sales increase by 200 percent.  Nothing like a good endorsement, is there?

But their references don't just stop with their sound.  Lyrically, Fallon calls on everyone from Bruce to Tom Petty, Bob's Seger and Dylan and classic literature as well.  In some instances, there are word for word lines (I'm not going to give hints - if you're interested, have a listen and see if you can spot them) from the artists I've mentioned but instead of this being detrimental, this is done with great reverence to the original artist.  While I am a big fan of originality, I can't fault Fallon and co for milking their influences like this because it works so damned well.

As Mine said, the Boss is still the Boss, of this there is no doubt.  But long after he is gone, I believe future generations will be looking at The Gaslight Anthem in a similar light.


For more information:

In our collection, we also have American Slang

1 comment:

  1. first guy is a fucking idiot - no punk in it??? working class punk band, just cause they dont sound like the 4 Skins