The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
The Gaslight Anthem may not be the only band in the world to have ever made this kind of racket, but there’s nobody doing it better right now.
The word “experimental” was thrown around a lot in the lead-up to The Gaslight Anthem’s fifth record, but it’s important to put this word in context. This record is not avant-garde. It’s not self-aggrandising, over-indulgent or even particularly groundbreaking. It is, quite simply, a bunch of rock’n’roll fans trying some slightly different stuff in their rock’n’roll band. And that’s no slight.
Just one listen to the opening riff of “Stay Vicious”, the album’s opener, will have many fans scratching their heads. It’s heavy – at least heavier in terms of Gaslight’s output to date – it’s dark, and it’s led by a riff. A big, dirty riff. But those fans need not fret. Those sizeable, soaring choruses The Gaslight Anthem are known for are still here in spades, as are those ever-wistful melodies and storyteller lyrics (though Fallon’s usual lyrical points of reference – radios, classic cars, Maria and Virginia – are nowhere to be seen).
Those hoping for Get Hurt to pick up where 2012’s Handwritten left off may be a little disappointed. Here you’ll find throwbacks to old albums (“Rollin’ And Tumblin’” is rather Sink Or Swim-esque) strewn amongst tracks that sound dissimilar to anything the band has done before (“Get Hurt”, “Underneath The Ground”). Heavier though it is, Get Hurt is also home to what is perhaps Fallon’s most tender ballad to date, with “Break Your Heart” doing just what it says on the tin. “Selected Poems” is arguably the best example of the band taking the finest elements from their past records, channelling them in to one song, and turning it up to 11. It seems that by taking this more ‘experimental’ tack, Fallon and co. became less self-aware and were free to write some songs they really wanted to write. The Gaslight Anthem may not be the only band in the world to have ever made this kind of racket, but there’s nobody doing it better right now.
The Essential Track: “Stay Vicious” – The embodiment of what the band tried to do with Get Hurt and the perfect intro to the record.