Gaslight Anthem's hot follow-up to their '59 Sound breakthrough should help them shed some of those Springsteen comparisons that have shadowed them, though that probably wasn't songwriter Brian Fallon's objective. And make no mistake - that Jersey (GA's home state) vibe still lurks in the corners. It's just that his writing style is more distinctive here.
It's also the sound of a band pushing itself while capitalizing on its strengths. Vocally, Fallon goes beyond his punk anthem comfort zone on the hard rock R&B tune The Diamond Church Street Choir and experiments with Strummer-approved island riddims on The Queen Of Lower Chelsea. But hard-driving melodic anthems are still at the album's core and burn brightest on Old Haunts and Stay Lucky. You get the feeling Fallon is just beginning to tap his potential.
Top track: Stay Lucky
The Gaslight Anthem hit Sound Academy July 14.