When I read that The Gaslight Anthem’s upcoming album ‘Get Hurt’ was inspired by The 1975, my excitement for its release ceased. I was overcome with scepticism and feared that they would stray too far from the original, authentic sound that enticed me in the first place. Although many fans would agree they are massively underrated, their fan base is pretty small and secluded – it consists mainly of those who love their music entirely rather than just the odd song. At first, I feared that their desire to appeal to the masses would lose them some of their most passionate fans.
Since the release of their previous album: ‘Handwritten’, The Gaslight Anthem have spoken on numerous occasions about how they desired change – they were tired of being associated with the same sort of image and sound, and I guess you could say they felt they weren’t evolving or moving forward. Although it is a great quality for a band to be able to adapt and be versatile, The Gaslight Anthem seem to have such an established sound that I always felt it would be better off left alone. However, when I first listened to ‘Get Hurt’ last month, I was pleasantly surprised – as I was greeted by their distinct, rugged sound that instantly reminded me I should never have doubted them.
As to be expected, the album consists of a multitude of contrasting ambiances: fulfilling their wishes of seeking change, yet remaining faithful to their classic, Americana rock. The best thing about the album is it’s constant variation – ranging from the jagged, electrifying riffs of ‘Stay Vicious’ and ‘1,000 Years’, to the nostalgia-inducing ‘Stray paper’ and ‘Helter Skeleton’, to the heart-achingly earnest lyrics and sombre tones of ‘Dark Places’ – the album offers something for everyone, from the devoted fan to the first-time listener.
Admittedly, the album is probably not their most consistent – it doesn’t have the same unswerving steadiness of ‘The ’59 Sound’, some of the songs lack direction and are slightly underwhelming in comparison to others, such as ‘Underneath the Ground’. However, you can often pick a strong element even out of the less exciting songs on the album – whether it is a lyrical quality or a technical one. Perhaps the most consistent and outstanding attribute of the record, is lead singer Brian Fallon’s voice – raw and robust yet laden with a certain vulnerability.
As ever, the album celebrates Fallon’s profound lyrical flair, which can be likened to Dylan’s poetic prose and the sentimental quality found in Springsteen’s compositions – ‘Get Hurt’ offers refuge for the lost souls and the broken-hearted.