by Oliver on December 1, 2023 in Album
History Books I don’t want to gloss over anything: after a nine-year break The Gaslight Anthem ready to get their hands dirty again for their heartland punk rock.
For their comeback, the reunited band tries to make the necessary adjustments right from the start in order to change the fate of the mediocre Get Hurt (including Brian Fallon’s subsequent mixed solo career) and opt for a polarizing production: producer Peter Katis (Death Cab for CutieKurt Vile, The National) hat The Gaslight Anthem a sound trimmed for DIY roughness, which rattles and rumbles surprisingly unpolished without any high gloss, and adequately gives the impression of having been only minimally polished beyond the LoFi demo status.
In fact, even without a really full range, the drums sound powerful and present, the guitars, which are mixed too much into the second row, sound differentiated and clear, the vocals (centered and present (which of course also puts it on display, vocally no longer with prime- Fallon to do).
This choice, which caused ambivalent reception, actually turns out to be the right decision, as it creates angular hatching and serves as a corrective to the oversaturation of the songs (which, if they had been produced differently, would probably have seemed too pleasing).
What’s more, the band makes the best of what is unfortunately not really outstanding material, which is the form curve of Get Hurt Although it is directed upwards, it “only” shows absolutely solid, in contrast to the first two, actually three, albums, it cannot create any goosebumps scenes or real moments of euphoria (and also repeats some passages of many pieces simply too liberally – what actually contrasts with the rest of the record’s attitude).
The melodies and hooks are routine, but only catch fire to a limited extent and without the necessary stimuli, without being gripped by the desire to repeat themselves History Books apart from its sound, the album is not inherently interesting or exciting.
However, it is quite reliable – and quite good.
Opened there Spider Bites brisk and snappy, tending towards a sing-along momentum, electrodes crackle and synths spark subtly texturally, before Boss and Idol Springsteen is given away as a star guest in the title song. Positive Charge stomps forward howling, rocking to the overdrive of the vocals into the cheesy bliss that Jimmy Eat World otherwise leased. Little Fires also thanks to Stefan Babcock (PUP) crisp and straight forward, meanwhile I Live in the Room Above Her hard rock and wide-legged in which heaviness is handled with kid gloves. Symptomatic of the record, however, the number simply doesn’t get going; you always seem to turn off with the handbrake on before the satisfying climax.
Im smoothen Drive von A Lifetime of Preludes the drums quickly fidget away from the contemplative rippling. At the other end of the spectrum, there is sway Autumn in a relaxed head-nodding groove, doses of feminine textures and spacey synths to shimmering 80s strings – in any other guise this would be too bilious. The Weatherman treads softly with brush drums and creates a dreamy, dancing atmosphere, ultimately turning aimlessly in circles and romantically nestling in the fear of God Empireswhich as well as sentimental nostalgia Michigan, 1975 obliging schwoft: Really hurts History Books just nobody.