To be honest, a band like The Gaslight Anthem should mean very little to us in Ireland. With their sneakers, quiffs and myriad of tattoos, this lot are as all American as they come. Yet while The ’59 Sound may not have made them household names, there are plenty who will be willing to give American Slang a listen. Those expecting any kind of dramatic shift will find themselves disappointed. This is The Gaslight Anthem completely as we have come to know them – 3 parts Springsteen to 1 part Clash. What they will find is an all round upping of the game. Whereas their last record boasted the killer title track, a couple of goodies and a fair amount of filler, American Slang has far more strength in depth.
What makes The Gaslight Anthem work is their utter self-belief, especially that of driving force Brian Fallon. His tales of Chelsea Queens and Diamond Street Choirs should translate as well as a French World Cup victory but, like all great American songwriters before him, his conviction and way with a winning tune more than carries him through. Those who wish to remain unconvinced will find much to inspire continued apathy. Yes it is largely unoriginal, yes it does all sound pretty similar but no, it does not sound like bad Bon Jovi (a theory put forward by someone recently). With American Slang, the Gaslight Anthem have delivered a record that is honest, passionate and does exactly what it sets out to do. And that will do us just fine.