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The Gaslight Anthem’s fifth record, titled ‘Get Hurt,’ was written in the wake of frontman Brian Fallon’s divorce, explaining the title and possibly the weight of this record. It’s different, the band promised that would be the case before it came out, they cited Pearl Jam as a heavy influence and warned people to expect sounds they weren’t used to from the group.
Above all of that, however, the music carries a maturity, sadness and seriousness that a person might experience when going through something largely negative and ultimately life changing. This can been well summarised in the record’s title track, a soft, rumbling number that takes cues from the 80’s with its synth touches and bold chorus, but it is ultimately heartache on record sung by someone who has given up. When Fallon sings, “might as well do your worst to me” it feels like it is the end of the day, like someone who has fought hard and lost their strength, and this powerful conveyance of emotion is only the third track.
Opening track and latest single ‘Stay Vicious’, is the most grunge rock the band has every sounded, channelling Smashing Pumpkins like guitars and Stone Temple Pilots vocals, this song is both a throwback and an advancement in time considering what the band usually sounds like.
Every single song on this record contains two main elements, the first is something new, the other is classic Gaslight. Tracks like the aforementioned opener or the uplifting and energetic ‘Helter Skeleton’ can open with grunge or classic rock, totally catching you by surprise, and then just as quickly a simmered down verse comes in or riff heavy bridge that sounds like quintessential Gaslight Anthem. The balance of new and old is seamless and often the highlight of the album.
The record moves from a quirky downtrodden pop song, ‘Underneath The Ground’, to a hard hitting rocker that completely channels the Pearl Jam influence on first single Rollin’ and Tumblin’. It seems to be intentional, hit the listener with something soft and sad and then amp them up with some riff driven thumpers making sure that you never get too down, but you also don’t know what to feel. Sometimes this happens in the one song. ‘Selected Poems’ starts out as folk then brightens up with soaring chorus lines.
In the end however, there is a sense of sadness as album closer ‘Dark Places’ reminds us that this record was born from great loss, as Fallon gets personal and closes with, “If I thought it would help I would carve your name into my heart.”
As promised, The Gaslight Anthem are offering up some different sounds, still rock based, possibly even more rock than ever before but certainly different. Sounds aside however, ‘Get Hurt’ shines as the band’s most emotional and possibly personal record.
1. Stay Vicious
2. 1,000 Years
3. Get Hurt
4. Stray Paper
5. Helter Skeleton
6. Underneath the Ground
7. Rollin’ and Tumblin’
8. Red Violins
9. Selected Poems
10. Ain’t That a Shame
11. Break Your Heart
12. Dark Places