The Gaslight Anthem – The B-Sides


Album

The B-Sides

Label

SideOneDummy / Shock

Year

2014

For Fans Of

The Menzingers - Sharks - Frank Turner

Summary

A decent, but ultimately lacklustre release.

Rating

60 / 100

The Gaslight Anthem blend catchy alternative rock with a charming blues influence so well that, most of the time, it’s very hard to fault. So well in fact that anyone listening to Brian Fallon and co would be hard pressed to not smile and sing along. From the simple yet catchy instrumentation – that’s brimming with character – to Fallon‘s swagger filled voice, and drummer Benny Horowitz‘s simple, yet tight time keeping: they really have an insanely loveable sound. However, that kind of quality of sound is rarely found on ‘The B-Sides’


‘The B-Sides’
, which brings to light old recordings from between 2008 and 2011, is a rather disappointing release from a band with a stellar track record. Most of the tracks on ‘The B-Sides‘ are live acoustic tracks that have been recorded for radio/online station sessions. These tracks include most of the band’s biggest songs, such as ‘The 59′ Sound’‘American Slang‘, and the always awesome ‘Great Expectations‘. While these songs had so much charm on the original albums, they now seem devoid of life. Yes, these songs are the acoustic versions so you never expect that much, but they just never deliver. The only song that works in the acoustic format is ‘Queen of Lower Chelsea’. Everything else becomes easy to skip over and lacklustre after only the first few listens.
 
‘Tumbling Dice’ has a very country/pop influence and is a surprisingly catchy track, yet it walks a fine line between digestible and loveable. ‘She Loves You’, ‘Once Upon A Time‘ and ‘Songs for Teenagers‘ are easily the best songs to come out of this release. They reflect the same slow, soft dynamics and bittersweet tones as some of the band’s older work, like ‘Here’s Looking At, You Kid’ and the anthem-like ‘We Did It When We Were Young‘. Although, knowing that they are all b-sides, these will probably never be played live. Hallelujah if they are!  
This is The Gaslight Anthem putting out a sub-par Unplugged MTV session with a few outtakes on the side. ‘The B-Sides’ would’ve worked much more efficiently as an EP with only half a dozen tracks or so, and as a result, there would’ve been much less filler. Sure, this isn’t the band’s fifth full-length album that many fans are eagerly hoping for, but it’s hard to recommend this to anyone but a die-hard fan.
 

Conclusion

When bands put out EPs or albums filled with b-sides and previously unreleased tracks, you rarely get anything to write home about. And that’s exactly what happens here. After all, this is called ‘The B-Sides’, so don’t expect anything as memorable as any of the band’s previous work, like ‘The 59′ Sound’ or ‘American Slang’. 

 

Tracklisting

She Loves You

The 59′ Sound (acoustic)
The State of Love and Trust (Live)
The Queen of Lower Chelsea (acoustic)
Tumbling Dice
Songs For Teenagers 
Great Expectations (acoustic)
Antonia Jane (acoustic)
American Slang (acoustic)
Boxer (acoustic)
Once Upon A Time
 

One Response to “The Gaslight Anthem – The B-Sides”

  1. toomanyghosts

    Gaslight Anthem album reviewed by a person with only passing interest in the band or? She Loves You may be a “B-Side” but it also has been released on another EP before, in addition to it being the second to last song on their Live in London DVD. Low score for quite a good collection of acoustic songs.

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