Once again we are treated to the velvety-toned soothing vocals of Brian Fallon and the band on this compilation album; that offers fans: extra songs which did not make it on to the studio albums, acoustic renditions of various tracks from the band’s records and a handful of covers.
The Gaslight Anthem emerged in 2006 and kicked off their career with their hard-pounding album ‘Sink or Swim’ in 2007, it mixed hard-rock together with an essence of blues. In 2008 they released their second album ‘The 59 Sound’, the album which launched them into the spotlight. They were featured on the cover of Kerrang! Magazine when they released The 59 Sound, making history as the first band to ever do that without being previously featured in the magazine. With this album the band nudged more over to the blues side of things, with the album offering heart-felled calming love songs along with hard-hitting rock tracks. 2010 saw the band release their third album, ‘American Slang’. Although it is their weakest album to date, it was not a bad record. It just focused more on melodic guitar riffs, rather than heavy rock anthems like the previous two. In 2012, their fourth studio album ‘Handwritten’ was released, and it offered all of their best elements; heavy rock, soul-sounding vocals, enchanting lyrics and melodic guitars. Although some fans will always say that The 59 Sound is their best album; Handwritten is not far off.
The acoustic tracks originate from their albums, The 59 Sound and American Slang; except for Antonia Jane which is a cover originally by Lightening Dust. These songs are not just your typical, quick acoustic versions which you might find on a magazine’s podcast; no these are properly studio produced and are quite alternate versions to the original songs. Fallon is not just singing their songs quieter with an acoustic guitar, there are different aspects added, such as backing vocals and other instruments in the background. In a way these tracks seem slightly more intimate, partly because they are more relaxing than the originals, but also because Fallon recording some of them in his own home, and not a studio.
What I have to say did disappoint me quite a bit was the fact that when I read ‘The Gaslight Anthem; The B-Sides’ I assumed that I was getting a few of Gaslight’s own songs which I had not previously heard. Unfortunately there is only one, ‘She Loves You’, which does not feature on any of their albums; the rest are either covers or acoustic songs. The covers were a nice touch, but I’d rather hear their covers live than have them on a CD. Don’t get me wrong I am glad that I purchased it, and I understand that these are the B-Sides from their released singles but more of their own tracks would have made this compilation that little bit extra special.
The Gaslight Anthem are currently writing for their next album, and I am always anxious to hear what they are working on next…here’s looking at you kids.
The full track-listing is as follows:
She Loves You – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.
The 59′ Sound (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.
State Of Love And Trust (Live) – Pearl Jam Cover, Recorded Live at Webster Hall. New York.
Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones Cover, Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.
The Queen Of Lower Chelsea (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.
Songs For Teenagers – Fake Problems Cover, Recorded by Brian Fallon.
Great Expectations (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.
Antonia Jane (Acoustic) – Lightning Dust Cover, Recorded at Cutting Rooms Studios, NYC.
American Slang (Acoustic) – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.
Boxer (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.
Once Upon A Time – Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise Cover, Recorded Sage and Sound Studios and Mad Dog Studios.