The Gaslight Anthem have always been too easily described in three words: "punk rock Springsteen." But with every album the New Jersey rockers have slid closer to Bruce and further from punk.
Their fourth album and major label debut continues to embrace classic rock fetishism, aiming for the rafters with grand, fist-pumping anthems and lighter-waving epics. Armed with shout-alongable meat-and-potato hooks, it reveals a band that's lost its grasp on nuance.
Choruses are bigger, solos longer and lyrical references more nostalgic and romantic. Brian Fallon croons his love for handwritten letters, vinyl records and working-class America, all in broad strokes and without a hint of irony.
That straight-faced underdog populism has always been one of Gaslight's most likeable qualities, but after four albums of American girls, dirt roads and fingers in dust with the radio on, it's tough to overlook the clichés.
Top track: Too Much Blood