THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM - 'History Books' Album Review
1. Spider Bites
2. History Books (feat. Bruce Springsteen)
4. Positive Charge
5. Michigan, 1975
6. Little Fires
7. The Weatherman
9. I Live In The Room Above Her
10. A Lifetime Of Preludes
Has it really been almost a decade since The Gaslight Anthem last released an album? The question that springs to mind after listening to their new album is why have we been deprived of new music from them for this long? When it’s this good they really shouldn’t keep it to themselves!
This is the first release on the bands own label Rich Mahogany Records, which I suspect will do well given the first record they’ve released is this good.
This is a very much a continuation of their previous sound but in a way that’s matured, it sounds like a band that’s grown up but isn’t quite ready to give up their punk ethos yet. It’s an intriguing blend, their writing, which was already hitting great heights, has reached a level which, if I’m honest, I didn’t know they were capable of. This is a gorgeous record, a mix of quieter, almost introspective songs, with songs that make you want to get up and dance about.
What it reminds me of to an extent is listening to a great band who have realised they have much more to give and that getting older actually allows them to be truly themselves, the punk rockers who have a heart and a way with a melody while sounding like they are channeling Steve Earle, the Gin Blossoms and John Cougar Mellencamp but in a way that is very much modern and relevant, not an an easy trick to pull off after almost ten years away from recording.
I think existing Gaslight Anthem fans are going to love this album, but, I also think this album is capable of widening their fan base. It’s a wonderful Americana Punk Rock Country Folk Album, if that doesn’t sound appealing to you trust me, you’re wrong, this is as good as albums get, it’s verging on perfection.
Highlights? It’s hard to call, I loved 'History Books', 'Little Fires' and a number of other songs but my personal favourite was the album closer, 'A Lifetimes Of Preludes'. It was run close by 'Spider Bites' but I genuinely don’t think there is a weak song on this record, it’s of such high quality.
All this with a couple of pretty decent guests, PUP’s Stefan Babcock and some guy called Bruce Springsteen…. To be fair I think they should offer Springsteen a chance to join the band, his vocals are pretty good.
I really hope there are plans to tour this album, if there is I really hope I get to go. Meantime time to go and order the vinyl copy, this is one of those albums that will get worn out, I think it may be on my record player for a while!
Website - thegaslightanthem.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/thegaslightanthem
Review - Iain McClay