The Gaslight Anthem – Senor And The Queen


Album

Senor And The Queen

Label

Resist Records

Year

2008

For Fans Of

Bruce Springsteen, Hot water Music

Summary

Born to runner-up.

Rating

65 / 100
Homage and direct duplication and the line between the two is precarious
ground in any art form, in creation as well as appreciation. This line
so easily becomes blurred until influence becomes imitation and the
substance begins to suffer to the point where it is often depleted or
at worst, lost altogether. Case in point; New Jersey wrecking balls
The Gaslight Anthem. 

 

Now I’m just going to lay it down right here that at no point in this
review will you read the word “sophomore”, because it’s stupid
and it means you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about,
which I don’t, but I’m still not going to use it. Except for just
then. Fuck. Anyway, the reason I bring it up is because at some time
in 2006 these guys seemingly came from nowhere to light up the Jersey
sky with their debut album ‘Sink Or Swim’, twelve tracks of absolute
dynamite that combined the energy of punk rock with a whole string of
jazz, blues and soul influences that they blended together perfectly.
The main thing that stood out however, particularly in vocals, was the
bands obvious affinity with the early work of Bruce Springsteen which
gave the music a really unique edge. (Before you laugh, let me just
explain that prior to being some old dude with a huge head that your
parents listen to when they’re high, Springsteen totally kicked ass
and influenced a heap of rad bands like Saves The Day and Lifetime,
so don’t scoff.)

 

However this element that worked so well for them before is precisely
where the problem rests on the bands latest offering.Señor’s
four tracks retain the vibrant musical energy of previous efforts, opening
up with title track Señor And The Queen, boasting the bands signature
lively hook filled guitar riffs and uplifting melodies underpinned by
solid and intricate drum work, carrying through to Wherefore Art Thou,
Elvis?, which churns out with the power of a live show and you can’t
help but feel like everyone in this band absolutely loves what they
do. It sounds so honest and so moving, but is sounding that way as far
as it goes?  

 

On closer inspection it becomes obvious vocalist Brian Fallon has gotten
a little too confident with his impersonation of The Boss, to the point
of not-so-indirectly reproducing lyrics and themes and there’s times,
particularly in closing track Blue Jeans And White T-shirts, when his
delivery is so identical it becomes genuinely laughable. Therein lies
my major hitch with this E.P., while despite what I’ve said the fact
remains that The Gaslight Anthem is a completely amazing band and by
absolutely no measure is this a bad bunch of tunes, how sincere can
it possibly be when at its core it seems to be just a cut and paste
of someone else’s ideas?

Conclusion

There’s something to be said for writing such instantly likeable,
engaging songs, but in future I think these guys would benefit from
keeping the inspiration as just that, and leaving some more room for
originality.

Tracklisting

1. Senor And The Queen  

2. Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis? 

3. Say I Won’t (Recognize) 

4. Blue Jeans & White T-shirts

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