The Gaslight Anthem’s third album reveals a remarkably powerful rock ‘n’ roll outfit honed by two
years of nearly non-stop touring. Singer/guitarist Fallon’s passionate lyrical approach has grown
more personal and introspective, his raw throated vocals stronger and more resonant against the
band’s pulse-pounding dynamic force. The album burns with the spirit of soul, the energy of punk,
and the artistic ambition of any hall of famer you’d care to name. AMERICAN SLANG is the battle
cry of a great band finding its own voice and using it to shout to the rooftops and beyond.
The Gaslight Anthem hit the road hard in 2008 and never looked back. After two straight years of
touring supporting the release of their break-through album THE ’59 SOUND, the band returned
home in November 2009 and took a well-earned month off before getting back to work. For
AMERICAN SLANG The band was determined to be true to their influences while not being defined
by them. Where in the past The Gaslight Anthem may have seemed overly reverential to its inspirations,
the goal here was to stake a claim for the band’s own individuality.
“We had to figure out, what are we doing?” says Fallon. “What do we have to say? What makes
us different than everybody else? So with this one, we worked really hard, to find out what we’re
made of.” AMERICAN SLANG turns up the dial on the band’s love of soul and classic rock, while
still flying the flag of its hardcore roots. Songs such as “Bring It On” and “Orphans” provide the
exhilarating answer to Fallon’s musical question, what if the Rolling Stones played with breakneck
energy of Stiff Little Fingers?
The stirring title track, with its mordant acknowledgement of “when it was over/I woke up alone,”
served as a kind of songwriting mission statement for Fallon. Though his lyrics remain populated
with finely etched characterizations the overall focus is more self-directed and concise. “I was
hiding a lot of things in imagery before,” Fallon says, “I was using pictures and distractions to get
my point across. This one was more about just telling it how it is. Being like, ‘Look, I’m gonna let
you in on this. This is my world and what I deal with.’”
With its astonishing range and undeniable urgency, AMERICAN SLANG is The Gaslight Anthem
laying it all on the line, giving it all they had to give. Achieving their dreams only served to fuel The
Gaslight Anthem’s already limitless ambition, driving the band to test their mettle as artists and
as men. “It gave us the opportunity to get to see what we were made of,” Fallon says. “Not a lot of
people get that. It’s like, do we belong here or is there somebody better? We’ll see what happens.
To us, we did our best and that’s the thing that really matters.”
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