The Gaslight Anthem, after a nearly decade-long hiatus, returns with their sixth full-length album, History Books. This New Jersey-born band continues to deliver their soulful, life-affirming rock sound, delving into topics ranging from mortality and mental health to the delicate aspects of human relationships.
Since the release of the band’s fantastic sophomore album, The ’59 Sound, they have consistently delivered a fusion of punk-tinged mainstream rock music with poetic and socially conscious lyrics that illuminate working-class American life. This true grit, combined with singer Brian Fallon’s vocals, has often drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen when describing their sound. The Gaslight Anthem not only sustains this comparison but also welcomes the icon himself on a verse during the infectious title track. His inclusion seamlessly blends with the mood and spirit of the album.
The Gaslight Anthem has aged gracefully on History Books. Several tracks, such as the opener “Spider Bites” and “Positive Charge,” recapture the high energy reminiscent of their earlier records. However, it’s “Little Fires” that takes the prize among these more upbeat rockers. With its driving guitar, Fallon’s sharp lyricism, quick delivery, and an infectious chorus, it’s a standout. This strength on History Books highlights that, in 2023, The Gaslight Anthem may not carry the same forceful chip on their shoulder as they did in 2007, but the same quality shines through every chord.
If you’ve been a fan of The Gaslight Anthem, then History Books is a must-pick. Fallon’s lyrics continue to captivate, as evident in lines like the most passionate one on the record, “I’m a weatherman watching the skies, trying to read you,” from “The Weatherman.” This song exemplifies how The Gaslight Anthem still knows how to connect with their listeners. History Books becomes even better with repeated listens, and at this stage in the game, it marks a welcomed return for The Gaslight Anthem, highlighting that they haven’t missed a beat!
For more of Christopher Anthony’s music reviews, check out The Fire Note
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